From the first moment yesterday morning, something felt odd: I felt utterly miserable but couldn’t say why. It wasn’t really about my body, although I did feel fat and uncomfortable. It wasn’t the fact that our holidays were coming to an end, either, although this crossed my mind. It wasn’t the heat or the thought of work or anything specific I could think about. I just was in emotional pain. Nevertheless, I got up and dressed and then I went for another run by the brook. This time, I ran farther than ever before. Even though I got out of breath and had to slow down to a walk several times, I never felt exhausted and actually enjoyed running up to the end. Some time during the run, the misery lessened and by the end I felt more normal again.
Father went to the shooting match again and I was alone in the chalet, ate too much and did some housework. It was not as hot as on the day before. Mother and I played some of our favourite pieces of music to each other, I made a nice salad for lunch and then we had ice cream. It was a pleasant, lazy day. I took a nap in the afternoon when it was too hot to do anything else. The evening was pleasant, it actually cooled down and I felt a little revived. I made dinner and afterwards we sat outside on the balcony. There was a thunderstorm in another valley; we saw the lightning flash for a long time. It was nice. I had wanted the holiday up here to be like this: summer, warmth, but not extreme heat to the point that it was uncomfortable. The heatwave had spoiled it a little, but it was better to be here in Pyne during this time than in the city, working.
A friend of ours came late in the evening just to stay for one night. The night was windy and a bit cooler and I slept with both windows open.
This morning, I got up at six and went for a long walk to the brook. Mother was up early for once, to make breakfast for our friend who had to leave, and I would have liked her to come with me (she always said she liked the walk when we are here in spring). She wanted to go to sleep again, however, so I went alone. I walked just as far as yesterday and took some photos. And I didn’t listen to music today, but payed attention to the sounds around me. There were many thoughts going through my mind. I tried to consciously take in all the beauty around me.
Imagine: You walk along on a winding path beside a brook, shaded by trees. As you walk – sometimes over soft pine needles, sometimes stones or dirt – you hear birds and insects and the voice of the brook murmuring, rippling or rushing over rocks. And in the background, there is always the rushing of the Rhône far below in the valley. You breathe in the resiny scent of pines. At first, everything is cool and grey, just waking up. And then the morning sun comes up over a shoulder of the mountains and enchants everything. Rays of golden light slanting through the trees, making every tuft of grass gleam like a jewel, bringing out all the hues of brown and green and grey. You are surrounded by pure beauty. And if you are wise you will gobble it up with all your senses, let it seep into your soul and save it for dark days.
On the way home, I made a small detour and visited two places Dinah and I had discovered and called ‘our kingdom’ when we were children. One was a place just above our chalet where a brook flows beneath the road and gushes into a little pool before. We used to climb over the fence and bathe our feet in the icy water. The other place was the rock at the other end of the large meadow beside the chalet. You can see the village and have a good view up and down the valley from there. I went over and sat on the rock, musing about my walk and Pyne and all the memories that tie me to this place, and finished composing the passage above.
Back home, we had breakfast and then sat talking together. My parents had to leave for the entire afternoon and evening, but I wasn’t so eager to be alone anymore. My desire to eat in secret has lessened. I have eaten without restriction, often overeating, for the last few days and it seems that my body is normalising its cravings. (If I was brave enough to trust it, I believe that I would gain a little more weight and then naturally maintain a slightly overweight body. I don’t want this, however. I still identify with a thinner body and I want to get back to where I was.) I did eat – and too much – but it didn’t feel so desperate and crazy as at the beginning of the week. I tried to take a nap later, but only slept for a few minutes. Otherwise, I was mostly trying not to move and to stay as cool as possible. It is still very hot now and I am going to take a cold shower before dinner.
I am thinking more of work and my life back home to try and prepare, to lessen the shock of going back. After this complete change for a week, I feel different in my thoughts, my body and my feelings and I’m a little afraid of how I will feel going back to my everyday life. And I felt the sadness of parting and realised that I won’t see Pyne and the chalet and everything until next spring, if at all. The last sunset. The last evening where I hear the crickets and see the wind in the long grass. The last twilight and the last glimpse at the small stars you never see in the city. It’s nice to love places, but it hurts so much to leave them. I am extreme in this; I even grow roots in one night in a hotel room, so my roots here are very strong and leaving feels as if they were being ripped out of the earth with force.