We are back in the Swiss Alps. We arrived late last night, when it was dark, and we just caught glimpses of snow and the outline of the mountains in the light of a full moon from the windows of the taxi as we wound our way up to our chalet.
Now it's dawn and I'm watching the light change over the tops of the snow covered peaks, the village spread out below me, roofs covered in thick white duvets and street lamps still blinking in the half dark.
Everyone else is asleep. I'm hoping they won't wake up for a while as the cupboards and fridge are completely empty. As soon as the shops open I'll brave the cold and go out for coffee, juice, milk and freshly baked croissants.
The Swiss Alps used to be a full on party venue for me. They're now a healing place.
The last time we came here was three days after I finished radiotherapy (for breast cancer). The time before was four weeks after I quit drinking (see my post Sober in Switzerland).
My perspective has changed entirely since then, as if I were looking at the same mountain from a different aspect in a new season.
The first piste we ski when we come out here, our warm up run, is called Lac de Vaux. I saw a picture of it recently in the summer. Where the piste flattens out by the ski lift there's a beautiful shimmering blue lake, surrounded by lush green pastures. Of course, the lake is there all the time (the clue is in the name), I'd just never seen it before.
Back in the drinking days, life was about the evenings and the indoors: booze, long rambling conversations, letting the hair down, bars, clubs, dim lighting.
Now it's about mornings and the outdoors: waking up with energy and enthusiasm, long rambling walks, wind in the hair.
Back then it was all transmit: say your piece, shout to be heard, fight your corner. Now it's about receive: listen to what's being said, learn, grow, nurture.
I used to look at the mountains and see wildness and recklessness; now I see stillness and peace.
I don't regret my former life. It was, let's face it, a great deal of fun while it lasted, but I'm glad I moved on. It was time.
Love SM x