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www.zidao.com Apprentice harmonizer, for sheer fun. Journeywoman writer, for work and pleasure. Starting point was Iowa, current stopping point on this journey is Switzerland, with frequent pauses around the world to watch and listen to the crowd, and occasionally make comments.

Tulips 2006 for Gran ellengwallace's Tulips 2006 for Gran photoset

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Lake Geneva's magic fingers

Sunshine and tourist expectations, Lake Geneva

(Click to enlarge)

I regularly drive from one side of Lake Geneva to the other, taking the autoroute because I'm usually in a hurry to get where I'm going. And yet I frequently stop at a parking area near Montreux, the town of jazz festival fame, because the view is so spectacular and every photo I take there is different from the previous one.

It's the light. Sometimes it shines on the entire lake and it's almost impossible to look. At other times a little hole in a cloud allows through a kind of spotlight on one patch of lake while the rest remains dark. Some days it is overcast and pale shadows are visible only if you stare long enough, and then they have a magical aura. The same view, in theory, has 1,000 faces or more. I never get tired of looking at it.

Shadows and reflections near Montreux

Yesterday I was in a hurry. Two other cars were in more of a hurry and the drivers were not foolish - they were completely stupid in their bobbing and weaving in rushhour traffic. I saw the results of two accidents that had happened minutes before. So when the autoroute parking place loomed I decided to pull over, despite uninteresting weather and clouds.

It was overcast. A Lausanne man was filming his young child who ran up and down a sidewalk. He never looked at the lake. A man from a car with German plates photographed a woman with the lake behind her. A van from Poland with several people had all its doors open and people hopped in and out, talking rapidly as they shook out blankets, checked bags of food and argued.

I took several shots of the lake, the mountains, the water. I remembered that I could improve the quality of the shot, so I reset my camera and wondered about my batteries and I took more photos. The sun tried to come out and never quite made it but I managed to capture on film something that usually escapes me: God's fingers. When I was a child I was told that the sun's rays were God's fingers reaching down to earth to warm it. I long ago shelved the tale as myth, but somewhere deep down I have continued to believe in those kind, warming fingers. Here they are.

When I finished I noticed that the Polish group had stopped arguing and they were staring at me, then staring at the lake, clearly puzzled about why I was taking so many pictures. After all, the sun was not shining, and tourism without bright sun doesn't give you postcard views.

I wish I could have said to them, "Look again!"


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