A letter for you

Dearest Salève,

I miss you

When I was going through a rough patch with the one I love, you embraced me in your broad, strong shoulders. You let me cry and blew away my tears. You tried to make me smile by refocusing my vision on the remaining beautiful things in life blurred by my tears.

Initially, Antoine, Mandy’s boyfriend introduced us. Do you remember him? Here he is:

You stood tall and looming above me, yet not condescending — you never were. I believe my soul felt protected by you even after this first meeting. Was it how you sheltered me from a brief drizzle of rain that day? Was it because you reached out to tickle my ankles? Or was it because you fed me fresh berries you had grown yourself — red roses when taking a girl out for the first time is so cliché.

How fortunate I was to have you in my life.

When I went running I would get lost in thought within the paths laid before me.

But you were always behind me so that all I had to do was turn around to find you there reaching out to guide me back home.

The confines of my office and ever-changing views on my computer screen prompted me to grab my 10€ flea market bicycle to explore the Geneva vineyards and forests in my backyard.

You kept watch over me as I intertwined along the roads. When I emerged from a forest, you were there to greet me.

You kept a look out when I completed a bit of mischief, and when I unveiled my creation, you laughed along with me.

As Haruki Murakami wrote, I am one of those

people who dream and wait for the night to end, who longs for the light so they can hold the ones they love.

When daytime arrived, you hugged me goodbye as the typical French air of bakeries taunted my nose to pick up breakfast.

Then I could feel you watch me cross the border to catch the tram to work, by myself.

Sometimes my colleagues and I would pick up lunch at Manor’s deli and sit at Lac Léman.

I noticed you straining your neck to watch me laughing and smiling.

But you knew the truth. You knew the sadness echoing from within because I was separated from the one I love.

At times, I would forgo coffee break with colleagues and ascend to the rooftop terrace to release some tears. Although you were too far away to blow these tears away, I still could see you — the sight of you gave me solace to stop my waterworks.

I am sorry

I gave up living with you for music. I moved to Nyon not only for an easier commute to work, but because I lived right next door to a music school. Oh how I reveled in the violin and piano notes tip-toeing to my quarters!

Still, you were not angry and waved from afar as I ran along Lac Léman. This was to reassure me that you would lead me back home in case I became disoriented.

I had just moved to Switzerland and did not have close friends to console me. But you, Salève, were always there.

Thank you.

Love, francesAntoinette

*****

I met Mont Salève when the couple I was renting a flat from took me hiking. This mountain has various trails, caves, and spectacular views.

Walking along this mountain, dense trees will shelter from the occasional light rain, lavender will caress your legs, and cows will stare at you as you pick from the raspberry bushes for a light snack.

Before my recent holiday among some islands of south EU, I had to brave the weather and re-visit Berlin and Holland for work-related reasons. Both Berlin and Amsterdam have avid bike cultures (and in my opinion, Berlin’s is less menacing).

Swirling with the memory of bliss biking the expanse of Tiergarten in Berlin, a book by Murakami just finished, and melodies of Fariborz Lachini’s melancholic “Roya” whose similarity reminds me of Rachmaninov’s “Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini” from a favorite movie of mine “Somewhere in Time”, I reminisced being able to bike among the nature of Genève with Salève’s presence always felt.

Salève shared these moments with me — saw my sparkling tears, heard my sobs choke me, and so blocked the wind to dry them. As Mont Salève will obviously not be able to read this letter, I share it with you, reader.

Although I wrote this letter also feeling utter relief and anticipation we were on a plane to practice sloth on beaches, reading a book by Murakami flickered a bit of shadowy feelings. Murakami tends to have this effect on me whenever I partake on his books because aside from the typical magical realism, his characters echo a type of loneliness that is not depressing. I also presented another set of his short stories here.

Before this post, I had just finished the above compilation of short stores. The short story, “Thailand” (ironic), is basically about a woman whose drawn out bitter divorce has finally ended. After attending a conference in Bangkok, she retreats to a resort in Thailand and delves into a routine of napping, reading, and swimming — all the while hoping her ex-husband was killed in the Kobe earthquake. Upon meeting a sort of village fortune-teller, she is told that there is a stone inside her body that she has been living with for a very long time:

You must get rid of the stone. Otherwise, after you die and are cremated, only the stone will remain….You are going to have a dream soon about a large snake. In your dream, it will be easing its way out of a hole in a wall…you must grab its neck and never let go. The snake will look very frightening, but in fact it can do you no harm, so you must not be frightened. Hold onto it with both hands…the snake will swallow your stone for you.

And the last piece of advice she was given:

Cast off mere words. Words turn into stone.

Which I feel resonates to include not only the words we receive from others, but words we say to ourselves.

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