Bringing the Past to the Future

Posted: June 4, 2017 in Community, Family
Tags: , , , , ,

lau241 years ago, around this time, I had the privilege to travel to Switzerland with my friend Bruce Bowlby and his parents. We lived in Lahr, Germany at the time, and had traveled extensively with family and friends and school during the 2 years we lived there. But to be honest, I was not prepared for the sheer beauty I was about to encounter. Being 12 years old, I just didn’t have the appreciation that I have accrued since to really grasp what I was witnessing.

We went for one week to a place called Lauterbrunnen. It is a glacial valley at the foot of the Eiger and Jungfrau mountains (and others of course). Bruce was told he could bring one friend with him. I cannot tell you how grateful I am that he chose me. What ensued was a week of sensory overload of epic proportions. From the moment we turned the corner on the road leading to this tiny village, and the vista before us played out in all its splendour, I was speechless. Those who know me can understand that speechless for me is a rare occurrence. Yet it happened. It would have required duct tape to keep my jaw from dropping the way it did.

If you have watched ‘Lord Of The Rings’, and remember the beauty of Rivendell, the realm of elves, then you should know that they based the concept of how this place appears on the Lauterbrunnen valley. It is quite simply beyond words.

The week went by quite quickly, as you can imagine. Inundated daily by sights that were ore and more stunning, we packed up and made our way back to our homes in Lahr. To be fair, Lsahr is also quite stunning in its own right. But I admit it took weeks to come down from that high. Those weeks we spent packing up our belongings and finishing school so we could return to Canada. A whirlwind month was June of 1976. But during that time I had the opportunity to describe as best I could to my father what I had seen. And he listened as he usually did, patient and curious, letting me blurt it all out. And at one point I made a vow to him: one day I will return there when I have my own children. To show them the beauty I had been gifted to see firsthand. Wherever we went from that day forth, Lauterbrunnen was in my mind.

And so, after 41 years of searching to match this event (we have gone to Jasper, Alberta numerous times and secretly I superimposed Lauterbrunnen from time to time) I am about to make the pilgrimage back to where I have craved to return. I am going with my eldest son, Alex. I wanted to go with my whole family but logistics this year just don’t allow for it. We are flying to Frankfurt and driving to Lahr for a couple of days, a sort of nostalgic tour for me and a great place to whet the appetite for Alex as we prepare for the onslaught of emotion and visual stimulus of Switzerland. Alex is an old soul: he is so at home in nature. He dreams of mountains and vistas and the smells of nature. So he will appreciate this journey far more than I did at the age of 12. The plan so far is to stay 4 days there, although we have left two days at the end of our trip open…..we may stay there a little longer. And if not, we have an arms-length list of places we could visit on our way back to Frankdurt.

My one regret is that I cannot bring my father with me, the person who listened to my meandering thoughts about my experiences, the man who also is a dreamer and has brought our family to places we could only have dreamt about. He is now in a retirement home and is just not well enough to travel. My soul aches because of this. I have spoken to him about this at length, yet he is not bitter. He has released much of my guilt by telling me he is proud to have instilled that lust to wander and see and experience with my own family. To say I am grateful for that is a huge understatement.

This whole thing isn’t just about the journey or the destination. It’s about the Journey and the Destination. Same words, but oh so different. It is a way for me to reconcile the past and create a path to the future for Alex, and hopefully for my wife and other son in the future. To see through their own eyes that this world isn’t all garbage and pollution and terrorists and murderers and all the negative things we are exposed to daily by the press and the nay-sayers. There is more beauty in this world than ugly. We truly believe this and live that as much as possible. And sometimes you just need to get your boots on and go see it for yourself.

I wish such a journey upon everyone.lau

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