On Saturday, March 11, at 6:00 a.m., in the dark, we left the hotel and dragged our skis and bags through the little village of Klosters. We were the first people to arrive at the station to wait for the 6:28 a.m. train to Zürich and the airport. I bought us coffees with our remaining Swiss Francs, and we watched those magnificent mountain peaks come into silhouette against the thin light starting to rise behind them. Soon, fellow skiers, going home to Michigan, joined us and at exactly 6:28 a.m, our silent electric train left the station. We said to one another that everything works in Switzerland, and we lamented what we are returning to in our own country.
Those Swiss must think about Time a lot, with all of their precision watches. In the shop windows at night, brand after elegant brand were twinkling under halogen fairy lights. (No need, apparently, to remove jewelry from their display cases after closing time.) Every little town we rode past had at least one tall steeple clock, glistening in brass, surrounded by snow-covered jagged peaks which glowed bright white in the clear morning sunshine. While we waited hours in the airport for our flight to Chicago, we ate the ham and cheese sandwiches which the Michigan couple had given us from their hotel, and watched a large screen play a video loop, advertising the legendary Patek Philippe, telling us over and over again, ” you never actually own a Patek Philippe, you merely look after it for the next generation.”
We marked the time in Switzerland with our Timex watches, commenting upon what our families might be doing right now, or that when we laid awake for several hours in the dark, it was because it was actually mid-afternoon on our biological clock. And, lying in bed before breakfast time, we’d open up our computers to find that there were no new weather reports back home, and no news had happened at all, because everyone was sleeping. Valerie had sent me an email, asking if we were counting down “every single micro-second until we’d be home”. We intentionally did not do that–this time. But, it still made me feel so far away, from everyone I love, to not be sharing the same Time together. And, sometimes in the middle of the sunny afternoons, walking around the beautiful village, I would feel so peaceful, thinking that they were all safely asleep in bed, back in their homes.
By the time we reached Denver, and a quick overnight stay at the airport hotel, we were so sleep-deprived that we could barely figure out how to set our watches to the new Daylight Savings Time before we crashed into bed. And, then, it was Sunday afternoon, and we were back at home, setting the grandfather’s clock which had wound down in our absence. I tried to re-create the great minestrone soup I had in Switzerland, and we ate it in front of the recorded Newshour from Friday night, and Saturday night’s recorded SNL. And, now it is dark morning in our breakfast nook, and the moon is shining on the water. The grandfather’s clock is ticking, and the kitties are watching us from the porch. The pair of nesting geese are already honking at water’s edge. Don has retrieved our Rolex watches, which we inherited from his parents, and is watching a YouTube video on how to set them. We’ve already looked at the webcam in Klosters and see that it is another bright and sunny day. Here, rain is in the forecast all week. Like they say, there’s no place like home, back in our own time zone again.