Spring is full of surprises. One day the sun shone and then the other, the sun hid behind dark, gloomy clouds as snowflakes danced in the air before landing on the tiles of our roofs and the tips of our fingers.
On this very day that Papa and I hiked, it snowed.
Below a certain height, it gets too warm for the fallen snow so it melts. Dad calls this ‘the icy front’.
Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you. ― David McCullough Jr.
The magic about hiking in the Alps is that the Alps is a vast mountain range and that means that the chances of hiking an entire route left all alone is very possible. This left us alone with the squishes and crunches of each other’s foot steps, the grandness of snow-capped trees, the accompaniment of sweet, pastel-coloured flowers and the occasional bird or rabbit or deer.
Papa seemed to know everything around us — from the Kohlmeise (English: Great Titmouse) to the Schnee Glökchen (white flowers below; to which he broke out into a song, “Glökchen, Glökchen klingalingaling…”) to the soft sounds of mini explosions in the distance (Papa said that these were forced explosions made in avalanche-prone areas — the people would rather that the snow fell apart before accumulating and causing a possible devastation in the future).
We shared quiet moments between us too.
We sit silently and watch the world around us. This has taken a lifetime to learn. It seems only the old are able to sit next to one another and not say anything and still feel content. The young, brash and impatient, must always break the silence. It is a waste, for silence is pure. Silence is holy. It draws people together because only those who are comfortable with each other can sit without speaking. This is the great paradox. ― Nicholas Sparks,
But sometimes, sometimes during those quiet moments, Papa would ask me, “Hörst Du die Vögel?” (English: “Do You hear the birds?”). If ever someone told me that as we grow older, our senses become muted or are at least not as sharp as when we were younger, I’ll have Papa to show me that that isn’t a definite.
The world is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.
“Die Tieren laufen hier herum,” Papa whispered as he used his gloved fingers to trace the slightly darker wavy path, which the animals had made while making their way through the fallen leaves and short shrubs, in the air. (English: “The animals walk around here.”) Do You see it? The path starts in the bottom left of the picture above, and winds its way to the top left portion before disappearing in the distance…