The rain is almost drowning the constant clanging of cowbells. It’s been raining on and off all day, but now it’s coming down hard. On the mountain rising across there are cows seeded on the meadow; lost through dark green evergreens, they each wear a bell and together they create the mountain choir you won’t hear anywhere else. The tune of the place is a calm one, it goes well with the rolling of thick white clouds when you least expect it.
We went for a hike today in the mountains near Vaduz in the tiny country of Liechtenstein. Following the path by the old church, not before we looked inside it through small square windows, we passed by scattered cabins, many of them uninhabited at the moment but looking as lively as if they were.The mountain is alive and it shows in everything, from trees to meadows to old (and newer) wooden cabins.
We stop by a turquoise pond, so cold that it makes my hand hurt when I touch its sparkling waters. Two fluffy geese careen their feathers on the other side and honk hello. Well, hello. In the middle of the pond there is floating dock with a small house and the house has a small porch. For a flower pot. Cold or not, I’d swim out to see about the little house.
The boys climb a steep hill to see some goats and the goats come close to see the boys. They bleat goodbye as we follow the path home. Goodbye then.
There are marmots here too, lots of them, but today’s rain chased them back in their burrows. There’s foxes and crows and lots of snails and slugs. And flowers, so many, so colorful, smelling of summer and sweet solitude that we all need but forgot to seek or are too rushed to truly enjoy when we stumble upon it.
But we are here, now. We will stop, we will let the mountains and the rain and the flowers and the winding paths touch our hearts. Then we will continue our journey, grateful for the colors along the way and the way they tickle our senses…
In the evening, a few long clouds crawl from the valley up the mountain, slithering through trees, leaving but a white tail lost among the deep-green evergreens. I think they’ll gather up behind the thick rocky edges, ready to roll down again tomorrow. Perhaps a ritual that’s as old as the very mountains spooning around the valley and its endless carpets of flowers.
As darkness drapes over, rain subsides and I hear the cowbells again… Order restored, this is another ritual that will not be disturbed for many years to come…