It was summer, and the days were perfectly warm and breezy, the sort of days that seem to demand and deserve to be spent wholly out of doors. On the rare occasion when it seemed necessary to be inside for a while, the sunshine peered in through every window, as if searching for company and wondering why everyone wasn't out enjoying its exuberance. It was a summer of discoveries, adventures, and great wonders, of meandering down wooded trails, and stumbling upon breathtaking mountainscapes with little wooden benches perfectly situated to view them. This was the summer of 2019, two months of which I spent in a tiny town nestled in the Swiss Alps where a rather lovely thoughtful spot can be found.
This thoughtful spot was introduced to me by a friend when a few of us set off for a walk on an early summer evening. We turned by a fountain down in the town and started up a road, quite a steep road and as narrow as a sidewalk. We lumbered up this hill, admiring the views of the town gradually sinking below us to the right, and little chalets built against the supporting mountainside to the left, and then we reached the top, to be met by a barrier of trees and scruffy underbrush, which did not seem a terribly exciting vista at all. But then we rounded a corner.
Settled on the edge of a grassy field, surrounded by foreign pink and yellow wildflowers interspersed with familiar lacy yarrow and tiny self-heal blossoms, just off a little footpath shaded by a still-blooming elder, was a bench. It was one of those perfectly shaped wooden benches, the kind you can sit on comfortably for a long while, and you could smell wild mint every once in a while when you sat there, though I never could discover where it grew. In front of this bench, just two steps away, was a very steep slope down to the little town again, and straight out in front of it was a truly majestic view. That evening we wandered further around the tree line to see a tiny sliver of Lake Geneva, far below and away from us, and stayed to watch it turn to a bright red crescent in the sunset. But that first walk was far from the last time I visited this thoughtful spot. For it was a wondrously beautiful place to pray, to read of great ideals, to write letters to the people I love best, to think, and to marvel. It also became the site of a rather painful injury when I discovered a old metal tram rail hidden in the grass by tripping and cutting my knee on it. The yarrow and self-heal were my faithful friends then, and helped turn an ugly gash into a now fading scar.
I often wonder who is sitting at that thoughtful spot now, though I have no doubt that it is beloved by someone and its peaceful solitude is enjoyed by many. It's easy, though now two years later, to let my thoughts drift to a sweater discarded in the sun's warmth, cheery wildflowers, resplendent purple and blue mountains, and a little wooden bench from which to enjoy it all. A great many memories can be summed up in a photograph, and so it always makes me smile to see that, though still in Switzerland where I sincerely hope it is the favorite spot of many other thinkers, my beloved thoughtful spot of yesteryear also resides, quite happily, at the top of this page.
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