The year I was nine my family traveled to Switzerland, my father’s homeland, where we lived for six months with my aunt Liseli in the lovely hamlet of Brienz.
The garden in back of our family’s 300-year-old chalet opened directly onto the lakeshore promenade with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. Across the lake glistened lovely Giessbach Falls, and ten miles away in Interlaken we got our first breathtaking view of the Jungfrau, the region’s most prominent peak.
Being there felt like I had come home. And though I am only “half Swiss”, to this day I insist that my Swiss cells easily outnumber the remaining mixture of English, French and Scotch/Irish, so it is alpine blood that makes music in my veins!
Since 1891, the people of Switzerland have celebrated their independence from Austrian rulers in 1291 on August 1st. Bonfires blaze and fireworks ignite from mountain peaks. Starting in 1920, the Rhine Falls near Schaffhausen have lit up with glorious outdoor displays in honor of this national holiday.
How wonderful! Born in Seattle and totally American, but with alpine blood singing in my veins, I have an opportunity two days every year to join in celebrating independence from oppression and tyranny. Any survivor of child abuse and/or domestic violence will understand the pleasure I feel at such good fortune.
Happy Birthday, dear Alpine Family!