16 July 2017
“I have to see a thing a thousand times before I see it once.”
In the early light of a Sunday morning, I look south from the balcony down the Avenue des Alpes to the lake. A slight breeze chills my bare feet, and cools my coffee.
Doves coo rhythmically or flutter noisily. A crow squawks from a rooftop. Swallows circle and dive.
A few cars pass, accelerating or braking on the slope. I dreamt last night I had a conversation with a local about whether cars here were stick shifts or automatic, as stopping for pedestrians on these hills would require good shifting and braking skills. I can’t recall the answer.
Paint colors shape my vocabulary. This seems criminal, but perhaps Lac Leman changes shades so often that there can be no name for its color. All I can say is that it is a paler blue on the near shore, and more intense beyond. As the sun rises, the blue deepens in the center and the far shore is illuminated. Then there is a green, populated slope, the French side. Above, the procession of mountains begins, gray-green, with slashes of cleared ground. Above this the sky is pale salmon, then paler blue with horizontal clouds and then the lighter blue of early morning.
Ours is one of a procession of buildings marching down the hill. They are solid, massive, almost squat. Four or six stories high, each with balconies and ornate decorations around the windows. The building next door has green shutters; across the avenue, planters of pink geraniums flourish around on wrought iron railings. Faded awnings stretch to protect from the sun. One building, down the slope, is pink, and has red and white striped awnings.
I have in fact three views from here. To the right and left, between the roofs, I can see the mountains to the east and west.
The difficulty comes in showing and sharing. The eye and hand fail me on this first try.