Monday, July 06, 2009

Maturity is Overrated



We are in Switzerland. I do not want to leave Switzerland. I think I could stay here forever. Maybe even through winter. Specifically, I could stay in Ballenberg forever. When we came across this open air museum in a book and then visited the website, I was instantly taken... maybe a pinch skeptical. Watch their hypnotic video, like we did and you may be skeptical too. How can a place be this lovely?


If you need the rush of city sights and easy access to subways, then you may not appreciate Ballenberg the way I do. If the smell of pine and the sound of cow bells ringing in flower filled meadows is not appealing then please excuse me... I loved the Swiss Open Air Museum it makes me tearful to recall, to accept that we could not stay all day, to come to terms with having to leave at all.


Max, Maria and I climbed aboard a horse drawn wagon when we entered the museum. Geoff, William and Alex chose to walk. The horses wore bells that jingled rhythmically with every clip-clop of the horses hooves, and this made the merry tune we listened to as we rode through forest, around gardens, passed the oldest standing house in Switzerland, by barns and turkeys, chickens, rabbits, goats, sheep, cows. Each area within the museum park represents a unique region in Switzerland and features crafts, and trades, animals and architecture of that cultural area. The houses are appointed with either demonstrations of work, like basket weaving, pottery and blacksmithing, or activities for children, or displays illustrating different topics like conservation or history.


Everything is active and interactive and a living, working and playing world for people to explore nature, history, culture, farm life, agriculture... or just enjoy a beautiful hike.


I think we saw about 25% of it. Once again we were on a time budget, otherwise we could have easily stayed the whole day. One park had fire rings and available wood, so that some families were cooking their lunches. Alex pointed out that one spot held my Trinity of Joy: chickens, goats and bunnies... frolicking together in the same lovely yard, with a charming little house. Everywhere we looked there was something to delight the senses and engage the mind.


Gah.


Sometimes writing is frustrating. I seldom feel as though I am really tapping into the core of my deep thoughts, actually saying things the way I want to say them. Not for lack of trying. This is particularly disappointing to me at this time. I cannot sing and I have always believed if I could sing, if I could hit the right notes and carry a tune, then people would hear and understand me. I am not a skilled artist. There are scenes and images and concepts that stay locked up inside me, because they never appear on paper or in clay, the way they do in my mind. There was so much at Ballenberg that struck a chord with me, that moved me and made me happy, that it was like a tangible manifestation of every song I cannot sing, of every poem I cannot write, of every painting in my mind. It was the corners and windows, the winding paths and garden beds of my dreams. I want to recreate it in words, then paint it in pictures. I want to share the melody of it, that I can hear and feel. I want what was expressed there to be a part of my life and what I achieve and live with and demonstrate. It is the strangest sensation to feel so attached to a place, and having to accept that it is not a part of me.


I know it is a re-creation... a genuine place, but not entirely real. And maybe I should not try to explain myself or describe how dear goats and chickens and bunnies are, together eating hay, while baby pigs shuffle in straw, and houses stand open and welcoming, with flowers and pear trees and swept porches... maybe it's sacred, to me. Maybe I should just let it be.


Maturity helped me leave without crying and whining.
Maturity can be hard.





16 comments:

  1. I beg to differ on your opinion of your writing skills. You make me feel as if I am right there experiencing your little slice of heaven via your wonderful words and photos. I, for one, would feel right at home in that spot and wouldn't want to leave either. If you can make someone feel that emotion, then you are doing something right! Thank you.

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  2. I am sorry you don't realize how much those of us who are reading your descriptions are appreciating the mental pictures you are creating. You are a beautiful writer and I have loved traveling through Europe with your family as I will never be able to in person. Please keep the posts coming.

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  3. My trinity of joy would probably not have animals, but you had 3. Only 3, Natalie? What about the piglets???

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  4. call me "maspoedjo"July 6, 2009 at 6:57 AM

    Wonderful
    Like my country Indonesia is my love............

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  5. You paint wonderful pictures with your words! I can see, hear and almost smell the elements, and it takes someone's special way with words to do that.

    Thank you for the European trip!!!
    Yvette

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  6. I know what you mean about having things in your mind that just defy expression. You do a pretty good job of it, though.

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  7. What great pictures! The pigs are too cute!

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  8. It looks idyllic there... So much enjoying your European adventures, Natalie! May your happy days abroad continue :o) ((HUGS))

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  9. I've fallen behind some and missed a few posts...I just read back through them and your pictures are awesome. It looks wonderful to be traveling and enjoying the sights and your family. Thanks for posting!

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  10. Looks beautiful! Wonderful pictures! Sounds like the trip of a lifetime.

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  11. Karen invited you and me to play Lex, but not via facebook. You're notified it's your turn in your email. I had a little trouble with Lex registration that way, but now it's easy, click on a link in the email and you're there. It's your turn!!

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  12. This is a great write. The words and pictures bring you right on spot. Thanks for the read.

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  13. Switzerland is like living in a dream, and after visiting there three summers ago, we never wanted to leave. So we moved...we're native San Diego folks, second generation, but now we live in a place as close to Switzerland as we can get: Salt Lake City! Even the visiting Swiss comment that it feels just like home, down to the mountains, streams, lakes and church bells chiming the hours.

    And we thought it was only Mormons who lived here. Turns out lots of us non-Mormons live happily here too.

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  14. Wonderful photos, punctuated with the ever-so-precious ballerina at the end...What a fabulous trip! It's really been fun following along...

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  15. I recognize so well what you mean in this post, I had this same feeling when I was in Norway, a long, long time ago.It felt like coming home, the wooden houses, the forests, the lakes...
    You really have to read "Heidi" by Johanna Spyri, you will love it!

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  16. Oooohhhh. You make me want to live in this place--no matter how far away it is. You make it so beautiful. Thanks for this.

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