Better to witness

I’ve been sharing too much on Instagram recently rather than sharing here first despite my new framework for approaching social media and, with time off for a few days, I’m trying to be more dedicated in creating that embracing the new habits I set for myself.

I started today ready to explore Chamonix in full after a long day of working yesterday. I realized recently that when I only have a few days off, I don’t do a great job of disconnecting. I managed okay today only spending about 10-15 minutes quickly checking in on some unusually important items, realizing they were still in limbo, and zero-ing out my notifications turning anything important into tasks. I might do a similar check-in tomorrow but my goal is to be truly away. I need it and I want it. It’s too unexpectedly beautiful here in Chamonix to not throw myself fully into my time here. My all or nothing nature has its perks sometimes ;).

I have a thing for mountains. I can’t get enough of them. The world feels lighter with mountains around me and Chamonix has provided a lovely escape. All I have to do is glance up at the mountains all around me, breathe in, breathe out, and relax. I just find them to be so incredibly beautiful. Our apartment opens right into a view of the snow covered mountains and I’ve spent as much time as I can sitting on the porch staring out into the distance. Here are some of the views that have greeted me since we arrived Tuesday:

We started the day with breakfast at home before heading into town to take the Aiguille Du Midi cable car up the mountainside. It was packed and it wasn’t even the busiest time of the year for tourism (perhaps I’ve adjusted too quickly to the small town vibe though and packed is relative). As we made our way up, my excitement grew as did my desire to get out of a cable car jammed with people. I glanced out of the window at one point only to see footprints in the snow as we neared the final destination. I pointed them out to my mom in shock wondering if it was a person or perhaps an animal that managed to maneuver up there. Moments later, climbers came into view and, after snapping more shots than I usually would take, I had to force myself to simply put the camera down. Sometimes it’s better to witness than it is to capture. Thankfully, I was able to do both (a lovely in between)!

We frolicked around at the very top getting lost in a maze of stairs and poor directions. I felt terrible for my mom who has spent the last year with a bad hip due to last year’s excursions. The excitement turned to frustration though as I was ready to run around the entire establishment and my mom was just focused on getting up each flight of stair. Patience can be hard for me in those moments. I need to do a better job of reminding me what this trip is really for and that we have plenty of time.

After exploring the very top, we made our way down to the halfway point where we had previously decided not to get off at. We attempted a very quick hike that I eventually called off near to the end after coming up a section requiring some level of scrambling down rocks. This was after my mom managed to get through two snow patches, some muddy spots, and a few off-roading moments when I lost the trail. Even at 74, it’s shocking how much my mom is game for. I often find myself filling in the role of party pooper nowadays when I realize I can’t risk her getting hurt on the side of a mountain midway through our trip! Many things she did today, friends of mine physically wouldn’t be able to do. Here are some photos that hopefully capture her being such a trooper – scarf and all:

After heading back down to Chamonix, I found a barber and am excited to add France to the list of places I’ve gotten a haircut since chopping my hair off! Risking getting my haircut in a new place has become a strange game for me – almost similar to trying out coffee shops in local places but more high risk. We’ll see how that goes. In a moment of confusion, I thought I had managed to get a haircut for that day in about 2 hours. This gave us a chunk of time to head up to the Mer de Glace, a glacier just a train ride away. Sadly, the glacier was quite depressing as climate change has taken its toll and I imagine the summer heat wasn’t helping. The mountains surrounding it were stunning though and the ride along the way was well worth the trip.

We snagged a very early dinner even for American standards let alone French at 5pm before heading back to the apartment. Sun burned and tired coming down from intense work for months now, I positioned myself on the porch to unwind. I put on my favorite podcast, closed my eyes, and leaned back in the lounge chair. From time to time, I’d peak at the mountains just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming yet before drifting off into a light nap. I came to just in time to catch England handedly beat Norway to make it to the semi-finals. I smiled knowing we’d be at that match.


One response to “Better to witness”

  1. Even the thought of mountains brings me to a happy place and helps me breathe easier. Totally relate. Love the stunning pics!

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