Sometimes, all it takes is a small amount of rain.
This spring, we went more than six weeks without rain in Switzerland. The vegetation along the sides of the gravel road I walk looked August dusty. Rainfall is usually generous in March and April; this year, I watered those plants coming into blossom, the cherry tree, the rhododendrons—the azaleas and tsutsusi—the lilac and current bushes, and the flowers, the peony, lilies, and roses. The lawn didn’t need mowing.
Cool days followed summer-like weeks. To be sure, we enjoyed having meals outside, an occasional grill, and frequent naps in the sun. To be sure, I enjoyed watching the lizards who’ve colonized our deck, and who sun themseves in view of my desk. I even came across two slowworms, rescuing one from a neighbor’s cat.
My husband said, “Is it just me, or is there more birdsong?” (Songbirds have colonized the shrubbery outside our bedroom window—and he likes to sleep in on a weekend morning.)
There is more birdsong. And my watering (most precious resource) saved our struggling plants. But now that the rain has fallen, every living thing has bolted out in relief and joy—and a trust that the world has righted itself again.
I’m not complaining. Working at home is nothing new to me, and I’m enjoying my husband’s company. Listening in on his conference calls, I’m learning new sides to him. In fact, the other day, I said, “You’re less boss and more mentor.” He smiled.
Sure, I miss crossing the bridge to Germany, walking the forested hills and the shore of the Rhine opposite ours; I miss jaunts into Zurich, exploring its narrow, cobbled streets, window shopping, and meeting friends or the kids for coffee, drinks, or dinner; and I miss my writing groups, the causal work-together-weekly group and the monthly critique group—what can replace an absent hug?
Still, the store shelves are well stocked. We collect fresh milk from a dairy in the neighboring village, and fresh eggs and farm produce are a two-minute walk from our door. Everyone I know is staying employed and healthy (knock on wood). We’re all looking forward to an ease in restrictions and curious to see what hits us once this storm’s eye has passed.
A walk along the Rhine, a book, food and drink, a good laugh with family and friends, travel and photographs, memories, and that quiet moment before leaping out of bed in the early, early morning—what doesn’t inspire me would be a text more quickly written.
My daughter Helena helped and inspired me to travel this e-path. I hope it will open new worlds for me. I hope she—and you—will find the occasion to linger for a visit.