Thursday, January 20, 2011

La Belle Paysage - VIDEO

Still trying to get out of my head and into a blog post. 
I don't know where my rhythm has gone or when it will come back but for the moment, I will spending lots of time outside.  The minute I step out of the house, the glimpse of sky and earth is like a breeze that clears out the clutter in my head.  

Today, took a little ride in the countryside with a small child by my side. No, this is not the start of a country song.

The village is a claustrophobic cluster of houses and barns and tractors and flower boxes but just past the horse farm, you break out into wide open fields. In the valley of the hills is the main north-south motor way of Switzerland, yet cars glide by without making any noise, respecting my need for quiet. Across the valley is a jumbled huddle of red tile roofs and the sharp peak of a clock tower, marking another village, though slightly larger. The Jura Mountains create a ring around the horizon but only when the view is not hemmed in by the fog. It's a dynamic landscape that defies description, but that doesn't stop me from trying.

Today's jaunt outdoors was a glorious excursion into the late afternoon sun.  Rather unexpectedly, it began to snow in the sunlight and everything was cast in an ethereal glow. What I can't write, I film, so what follows is a rather hastily edited video of our walk, set to a Carla Bruni tune.

A few qualifications:
1) I'm not Jean-Luc Godard so this is not cinematic greatness.
2) Filming while on a scooter, probably not the best idea. At one point I fell off. I'm sure you'll figure that out.
3) My fingers are in the shot to block the glare of the sun, which my highly-technical Flip can't handle. 4) Whatever, enjoy it.

Friday, January 7, 2011


Oh lands, it's been nearly a month and not a stray word to be found around here.
Time passing has been like the wind through an open window, ruffling blank pages of a book.

obviously this calls for another Alessandro Gottardo illustration

I can't write when I'm not inspired. It's been a dry season. December was a box stuffed full of adventures but chronicling them by force of habit would have been as dull as reading a travel brochure.

But here I am, blowing the dust off the keys to prove there's still life in this pocket of the internet.

What have we missed? Paris. Merry Christmas. Italy. Happy New Year. Castles. Bears. Hindu spiritual guides.
Tales for another time.

For now, before the shiny newness of another year fades into February, we must list aims and hopes for 2011:

I try not to put too much emphasis on resolutions, because too often we set ourselves up to fail.  Tackling all your faults on the first of January is putting too much on your plate. Also, I don't think merely the changing of the calendar should make us feel obliged to make better decisions. If today was messy, make tomorrow your fresh start. If this morning was a bust, try harder after lunch. Don't be so hard on yourself.

That said, I like to pick a new shade for the new year, a sort of giant parentheses in the sky to encompass my experiences in the next 12 months.

The goal of 2010 was to not be afraid to try new things. Well mark a gold glittery star next to that, because for the last four months, I've been writing these posts to you from Switzerland. Not to mention, saying goodbye to the safety of life as a college student. And the little things. Tried pâté. Won't be trying it again. But that's ok, that's the whole point of trying it, right?

The goal of 2011 is a little bit more nebulous but I'm aiming in the direction of inspiration. I want to be inspired by what I do. I want spit and vinegar, pep and vigor. I want joie de vivre. It doesn't need to be a  year of gleeful hurrahs and fireworks.  Those are exciting but I also want to do with gusto the necessary things, the hard things, the unpleasant things. 

I want to learn French like it's the last spoken language.
I want to write like the words need to pour out or they'll be lost. 
I want to learn how to cook rice that tastes so good, it outshines the meat and vegetables sitting on top.
I want to fail at learn how to ski in the Alps. 
I want to finish every song I play on the piano with a resounding glissando. 

Go big or go home. 
2011, go put on your game face.

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