Pondering in Zurich . . .


April 29, 2010

Have you ever been so tired you just don’t feel inspiried? Here I am finally with a real internet connection, and I can’t think of a thing, witty or clever to say, just that I’ve been traveling day-to-day. Venice, to Vienna, to Salzburg, to Zurich. Long train rides, early mornings to get to the station, and walking, walking, walking each day in each new place absorbing the essence, the sun, the language. I have spoken so little English for so long that I feel stupid when I do try to talk. The other day a woman in a shop looked at me blankly as I tried to ask for something, and finally said. “You speak Deutsch? You speak English?”

Tomorrow I take two trains to get high up into the Alps where my mother and father were sixty years ago, where my mother lie in a fevered state in a hostel until a Swiss doctor cured her with a drug that didn’t even exist in America.

And then they shouldered their packs and set out again.

What will I find when I get there? There are no artifacts to gather, only the welling up of emotions I feel each time I criss-cross my parents’ path, knowing that they were once here, seeing for the first time things I am seeing for the first time, feeling perhaps feelings not unlike my own . . . or wholly different. I will never know.

What I do know, though, is that with each passing day I learn more deeply that it is the power we accord to our stories that means everything in life.

I have long attributed romance and passion to my parents’ stories of their European adventure, but that was just a story of my making. Without the backdrop of a plot line, events mean nothing. The plot line I assigned to their journey has shaped my life.

But it was only a story. Of my making.

Why was that story so important that we each perpetuated it for so many years? What essential core did it house that we needed? And why?