Before we left on our holiday, I asked my husband, “What do you most want to do in Switzerland?”
Build a dam, he said.
Piling small stones in a cool mountain rivulet, diverting the flow of water. Then collecting larger stones, arranging them in a circle, lighting a fire, whittling sticks, empaling cervelat sausages, and grilling them over the coals. This is, apparently, a quintessential experience of Swiss childhood.
While we were in Switzerland, it was far too cold to play in the stream that ran near our vacation house. But one almost warm day, the last one in the mountains, we rode up the gondola with the intention of going for a little hike. By Swiss standards, we were terribly ill-prepared, with an umbrella stroller, sparkly shoes on our girl's feet, and a nary a backpack in sight. Still, we went up. After a few hundred meters, we came across a tiny trickle coming down the mountain.
Dark forest, patchy light. Piling stones. Controlling the course of the stream. It was lovely. And it totally didn't matter that no one had hiking boots.