I've been away for a week on vacation. A busy vacation, with lots of errands, but still, a vacation away from home.
I do love my home sweet home. One day I'll write a post about it: it is a place I have looked for and chosen, a place I have fallen in love with and written poems about.
But leaving...ah, leaving has always been a great favourite of mine.
Packing, planning, and most of all, anticipating.
These days, it also means forgetting a share of worries, leaving them behind for a few days.
So I was away, somewhere in the Alps near the Italian border. In a place where my ancestors lived, for I am the proud descendant of Alpine people, people who lived a hard life in a stunningly beautiful but equally hard region. My ancestors were not rich, they had to work hard and face difficult weather conditions. In my great- grandmother's times, people either lived a hard life or died at a young age. Living in a mountainous area like that means restricted agriculture too. So it wasn't the land of plenty, and it wasn't easy. In the old days, there was no heating system in the house, no water, and the water to be picked up was freezing, it came from the nearby torrent. I must say I'm fascinated by these stories I've heard, fascinated by how hard life was compared to now (I'm speaking in terms of material comfort).
Anyhow, I hadn't been in that place for ages. And it was nice to see it again.
Within a few days, we played in the snow under blue skies.
I fell in awe again in front of my beloved high mountains.
It was time again to marvel at the purity of the roaring torrents and the peacefulness of their quiet creeks.
And their soft pebbles.
And we admired the first flowers. Spring there starts a little late, with flowers piercing through the snow.
We walked, we wandered a little bit. Everywhere, there is beauty.
There was even time for bathing in warm springs...a luxury under the cold blue skies...a memory revisited since my early childhood.
No vacation there is duly completed unless you've eaten a 'fondue' in a little, cozy, local restaurant. We've sacrificed to the ritual...it was one of my kids' favourite moments...one of ours too.
My grandmother has long been dead. But my memories are well alive. The laughters of my kids echo in the same beloved snowy fields, in the same narrow streets. Just like the sound of the fountains in my grandmother's village echoes in my mind. Forever.
Memories are roots. They keep us firmly grounded. They nurture our children's sense of belonging. They form our family's narrative. They are us. Remains of the past, they spring up again in the lively force of our present and future. Long gone, they yet allow our days to unfold surely and somehow wisely. Just like leaving allows us to return with new eyes and renewed spirits. To see our present days anew.