Saturday, 16 August 2008

Alps

In the blue twilight, my eyes are wanting to close. My stomach lurches from the pinch and clench of too many hairpin bends and the torrential shrapnel of roadside gravel. 

I leave behind the festive lines of German bikers and pull over into the entrance to the snowplough station. It's all boarded up, locked tight for the Summer, polished and swept clean. To stop myself from being sick as my feet come to stand on an earth that feels like it is spinning too fast, I count the 18 tall columns of pale pine logs neatly stacked along one side of the cabin.

Away from the swish of passing traffic, I park beside a huge yellow water tank, eat syrupy apricots straight from the tin, grab a thick tartan rug and my sleeping bag and lie down at last, on a fragrant bed of thyme.

Dawn is a pink and silent slow motion spectacle. Before the traffic has climbed up from the lake, all I can hear are waterfalls in surround sound. At the barrier at the back of the plot, I look down and down to the pale valley floor and the fast snake of white river. Towering faces of mountains all around weep waterfalls. The valley echoes with the sound of water thrown out of rock.