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?