I wanted to start by telling you about my grandfather and the stories he would tell me when I sat on his knee, stories of the old country. You see, when I moved to Switzerland over 35 years ago, he was delighted that I was going back to Europe, back to my roots. At least close enough to where my ancestors were born in Poland. His stories never failed to fascinate me and I still imagine what it must have been like in the olden days. However I realized that, until I got to telling you about where I really live, this project would be more like a book than an essay.
Describing where I live now, I guess I have to say that it’s in a small town situated on the Lake of Zurich. Despite being only 19 kilometers (about 12 miles) away from the city, Uetikon am See is more rural than suburban. There is no real downtown, just a church and the school and a few shops scattered on the hillside.
And lots of farms. Actually I don’t live in the village itself, but high up on a hill about a half hour walk from town. The little hamlet where I live is surrounded by corn and wheat fields, and cows and sheep grazing in the pastures. On a clear day I can see the snow-covered Alps to the South.
Nearby, there are miles and miles of forests to walk through, beautiful whatever the season. There is also a little pond not far away, where I used to take my children to look for frogs. Right now a pair of ducks have already staked out territory and started building a nest in the rushes.
I think I have to mention that I live right next to a rifle range. In Switzerland military service is compulsory for all able-bodied male citizens between the ages of 19 - 34. The soldiers must absolve an obligatory program every year and so practically every village has a shooting range where they can go to practice. You might think that it would be noisy with all that shooting going on. Well it is, but “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”. So I joined our local club four years ago and now during the summer months, every other week we get together for target practice or take part in competitions. Although I am not a “gun fan”, I have come to enjoy the sport to balance my other activities.
This little red barn is my favorite place to contemplate God and the world. The view is incredible; it’s my thinking place, and probably the subject I photograph most.
In a few short months, I shall be leaving Switzerland, and moving back to the States. I am going back to my roots so to speak, but not to the same place I left so many years ago. Time has changed me. I am no longer the little girl on her grandfather’s lap, nor the young bride starting a new life in a strange country. My life still has plenty of room for new adventures and the next chapter is just waiting to happen.