In German-speaking Switzerland, they don’t say goodbye as you might expect. I was all ready with my limited vocabulary including ‘auf wiedersehen’ or even ‘tschüss’ but it turns out that around here they just say ‘ade’ (ah-day). It’s an adaptation of ‘adieu’, but without the finality of the French sense.

I’ve been feeling a strange mix of emotions this week. One minute it’s like time has stopped, and I’m happily living in the present. Then it’s like things are going too fast, and I feel anxious and unsettled. The next moment feels like forever, like things are dragging on and I will never get anywhere. It’s a little depressing. The news doesn’t help.

If you could read my mind love, what a tale my thoughts could tell…

This week Canada lost an icon. Gordon Lightfoot’s music was a big part of my youth. He was a folksinger and a poet whose lyrics captured some essence of what it is to be Canadian. Gord’s fine tenor was a backdrop to so many memories for me. I’m not sure when I last saw him in concert but it was very long ago in Toronto, either at Massey Hall or Ontario Place. He was from Orillia, a small town just north of where I grew up.

Meanwhile, in my corner of the world, there is much  to be happy about. Seeing our grandson take his first steps. The coming of spring. Getting ready for our move in a few weeks to a new home in another beautiful place.

Yet sadness has been creeping into my days. Transitions are hard. Beginnings always mean endings. And I’m feeling something like nostalgia as we prepare to leave this place that’s been home for the past three years.

There was a full moon the other night, and as it rose I went outside on the terrace to check it out. I took in the snow-capped mountain tops, the cloud-streaked skies and the thrum of nature at full throttle. Oddly, as day slowly shifted to night, our little town was booming. There was the usual stream of cars on the road below, punctuated by distant shouts from the football pitch as the players wrapped up their game. In the fields just next to us, the farmers were out in force, clearing the piles of grass they’d cut just the day before and rolling them into bales. The weather has been very rainy this spring, so presumably they were taking advantage of a couple of sunny days to make hay, as the saying goes. Big machines were doing some of the work but a lot of it is done manually with rakes and blowers. I could see people moving about with flashlights in the darkening fields.

I went to bed long before they stopped. By this morning there was not a blade of grass out of place, and the bales were neatly wrapped like marshmallows and scattered in the fields.

It brought home the strong sense of community and connection I’ve felt here. Despite not really being part of it, nor speaking the language, and with much of our time here marked by the isolation of Covid, we have felt so welcome and safe in this community.

Life will be easier in some ways when we move. Living in an apartment, I’ve had to get dressed first thing, rain or shine, to take the dogs out to the street above us. In winter it was often still dark, but each day I have been grateful for this view. I will miss it, and remember it fondly.

I will also miss the church bells, the ones I swore I’d never get used to, chiming every quarter hour all through the night. And the lovely people who always seem to be either working or celebrating, even if it means crazy ‘guggenmusik’ and cannon shots at 5 am!

Update: Yesterday morning our apartment filled with an unmistakable smell. The relentlessly efficient Swiss farmers were back out in the fields, spreading manure. Husband, who somehow knows these things, assures me that they don’t use manure on vines. That’s at least one thing I won’t miss!

Et toi? How do you deal with endings and beginnings?


  1. Nancy Jane Peirce · 24 Days Ago

    I wonder why you would leave such a place? It sounds idyllic indeed.

    I call the experience of something similiar to what you speak about my “transition blues”. I become edgy, over organizey, or totally spinning pirouetting, starting & stopping, depressed, agitated, anxious, slothful & sometimes, it seems, these contradictions are all at once. I have it, of course, with grand changes of place ( leaving a house we had lived in for 20 years ) but then more perplexing are the minor changes of place ( traveling for six weeks in Europe recently and shifting every few days from one B&B to another or the comme d’habitude shift every few weeks in my own state from a northern home to a southern one).


    I worry & wonder that I have so little resilience or if it is just an inate inability to pivot gracefully.🤷‍♀️ I have become kinder to myself about it over the years but I do wonder what it will be like if I find I feel forced to leave my country.

    I have always enjoyed your posts although I suddenly realized this morning that I had not seen one in a very long time. Last was, I recall, you had finally, after a long hunt, just found this place you are now leaving.

    Good luck and loads of ease with your next change of place!


    • MELewis · 23 Days Ago

      Thank you, Nancy! Your description of the ‘transition blues’ sounds very close to my own — except I get the feeling far more often I should, flitting from one activity to another in times of stress. Mindfulness practice helps, and I’m learning to curb the contradictions when they strike. Not sure how successful I’ll be during crunch time over the coming weeks though.🤞🏻 BTW, Did you have a different profile on WordPress in the past? I can’t seem to remember you from before. But I have become lax in posting, especially since we moved the last time. Hoping to get back on track once we’ve settled in to our new place.

      • Nancy Jane Peirce · 23 Days Ago

        Hello France Says,

        I don’t imagine that I ever commented enough to be memorable to you.

        I do seem to recall that a few years ago when I purchased a new computer there was a massive meltdown in the transition from the old system and I know I lost alot at that time. ( 😳 another transition issue! )

        I neglected to say how sad I was to hear about Gordon Lightfoot’s death. I am not Canadian but I do live in northern Wisconsin and he was listened to here in Great Lakes Country alot. He performed in the past year or so at our local little auditorium and I am doubly sorry now to have missed it.

        Bonne chance with your move. I look forward to hearing more about where, when, why etc.

        A fan, Nancy Jane

      • MELewis · 23 Days Ago

        Nancy Jane, merci mille fois! Sorry to hear about your technology woes — I do sympathize! Sounds like we are (former) near neighbours with you in upper Wisconsin (also as I spent 5 formative years in MN!). Hopefully we can continue the conversation through future posts. Stay well!

  2. Suzanne et Pierre · 24 Days Ago

    First of all, good luck with the move; never an easy process and often exhausting both physically and mentally. You will grow roots in the new place but it takes time though you will be closer to your family.

    We have had our share of moves and it is always very emotional. We have been living in the same apartment for 8 years and despite the fact that it isn’t perfect (far from it); I don’t want to even think about moving again. I like the neighbourood and the people who live around us which is probably more important than the apartment itself. (Suzanne)

    • MELewis · 23 Days Ago

      Thanks, Suzanne! It will take time but I’m determined to grow those roots. I hear you on not wanting to move again. Hoping we will have nice neighbours, or at least not unpleasant ones. I’ve yet to move to a place where at least one person didn’t have a problem with someone else but so far we’ve managed to stay on good terms with them all. There is no perfect place, but any place we choose to call home can be close enough.

  3. Dale · 24 Days Ago

    I’ve never moved out of my province, never mind country! I can’t even fathom it, to be honest. You lived in such a beautiful place for three years and will live in another that will make you vibrate. Getting there and setting up is a process.
    I wish you a nice and smooth transition!
    (So sad the loss of Gordon Lightfoot. His songs have been playing non-stop in my head, since.)

    • MELewis · 23 Days Ago

      Thanks for your wishes, Dale. It is a process, and it’s a relief to get on with it! Once you’re in the action, things just go. I could never have imagined moving away from my country either, until I did it. As for Gord, his songs have been in my head too. For some reason I can’t stop replaying the opening lines to the Edmund Fitzgerald!

      • Dale · 23 Days Ago

        It is, I can only imagine.
        That very song was in my head last night; the previous “Morning Rain” and before that, “If You Can Read My Mind”…. Oy!

  4. margaret21 · 24 Days Ago

    I’m quite good at beginnings, but miserably poor at endings. You’ve had many changes over the last three years (is it really that long?), just as I had as a child and younger adult. I still feel envious of people who’ve been rooted in a particular community maybe for their entire lives. But at the same time, I’d go nuts if I couldn’t go off and explore new places – often. It’s a bit First World Problems, isn’t it?

    • MELewis · 23 Days Ago

      I feel that envy, too, Margaret. If it had been up to me, I’d probably have stayed in the same place forever. (At least, that’s what my inner child thinks…) But life happens, and we respond to the call. Now, looking back, I am so glad I was able to move and can’t imagine still being in my place of birth. I’m not sure what it takes to be good at endings. But I’m eternally grateful for every chance at a new start.

      • margaret21 · 23 Days Ago

        You’re quite right of course. Would I have wanted still to be in the village of (just after) my birth? Of course not. So many adventures, some bad, most good since then, as a result of nomadism.

  5. acflory · 23 Days Ago

    Your ‘new’ has been fraught so I can understand the nostalgia for the old. And I, too, loved Gordon Lightfoot’s music. -hugs-

    • MELewis · 23 Days Ago

      How wonderful that Gordon Lightfoot’s music reached you in Australia! I suppose we tend to assume that such a Canadian-grown artist is only rarely heard of beyond our borders, but his songwriting had something universal. Nostalgia is addictive, and I try not to let myself slip into it for too long. Onwards and (hopefully) upwards! 🤗

      • acflory · 23 Days Ago

        Oh he’s very much a part of my musical ‘history’. The mere fact that I remember his name after all these decades attests to how much of an impact he made. Canada and Australia are probably closer in some ways – culturally – than either of our countries is to the UK or the US.
        Vale Gordon Lightfoot.

      • MELewis · 22 Days Ago

        You are right about that, Meeka! We are closer somehow, however different we are. I think it may be because Canadians and Aussies somehow don’t buy into the mainstream in quite the same way.🤫 Hugs!

      • acflory · 22 Days Ago

        Yes, I think you’re right about that whole mainstream thing. Plus being part of the Commonwealth does give us ties to a lot of diverse countries and cultures, including the countries of Europe. -hugs back-

  6. Katherine Wikoff · 23 Days Ago

    Transitions are hard, and good luck with your impending move.

    One of the sweetest moments in the days after Gordon Lightfoot’s death was that at the Mariners’ Church in Detroit, the bell chimed 29 times (for each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald) and then one more time for Gordon Lightfoot. Maybe you already heard that, but I only knew because of a friend who lives in Detroit.

  7. mkmiller09393 · 23 Days Ago

    My teenage years were the ’70’s, and Gordon Lightfoot was a constant soundtrack on the radio in Kentucky. I’m not sure I knew he was Canadian until I heard of his passing (oops!). But what a musician – his wonderful voice, crafting of lyrics, and the beautiful arrangements – the world grieves his loss.
    I’ve been following you since before this last move, which seems like just a few months ago! Your words are profound about beginnings necessitating endings, and the discomfort, and sometimes pain, of that. I have moved house 15 times, not counting university days, mostly thanks to my previous life as a military wife. It is the worst! I wish peace and strength for you as you pass through this stage, and that the new home will make it all worth it. Cheers, friend!

    • MELewis · 23 Days Ago

      Thanks for your kind wishes, MK! No worries about not being sure Lightfoot was Canadian — we Canucks like to keep a low profile around our American cousins (even though we do have a few essential differences ;-). I’m happy that you have enjoyed my ups and downs through the moves and stayed with me for the ride. Also glad to know I’m not the only one to suffer through so many moves. At last count we were at 12 moves so kudos to you for surviving 15!

  8. Ally Bean · 22 Days Ago

    I’ve been wondering about your move, when and how. I do better ending things than starting things, so leaving would be easier for me than jumping into something new. Not that there is always a choice about such things. Thinking back on it Gordon Lightfoot didn’t impact me in big ways, but I was aware of him and his songs. Just seems odd that he’s gone now

    • MELewis · 22 Days Ago

      I feel like I’ve been talking about the move forever, and now that we’re finally down to the wire people thought it should be done by now. Even with professional movers (a huge luxury), the older we get, the harder it is!
      Glad you knew about Lightfoot. I only realized how much of an impact he had when he died, and all the songs came back to me. Living in Europe so long, it had been ages since I’d heard them. So evocative.

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