The Zant clan returned from our trip to Switzerland and Italy. My mother helped make this happen. Blair and I have been married more than 10 years so this felt like a second honeymoon. We left the kids with her parents. (Thanks Joann and Michael).
Our first stop was Luzern, Switzerland. It’s a beautiful place. There’s a crystal clear river running through the heart of this Alpine city. The water was running fast from the Alps runoff. Our crew took a train to Engelberg to the base of tall mountains just 20 miles north of Luzern. We took a gondola ride up to Mount Titlis, where we gasped at the height and vastness of the peaks.
On top of the mountain, we snapped pictures, sure to get the snow capped mountains to frame our smiles. Blair has made our couple’s shot her Facebook profile.
But after the pics, we took in this sight. It’s perhaps the grandest of all of nature I have witnessed. We were so high the oxygen levels dipped. I found myself laboring for air and felt a slight bit dizzy at first, which added to the power of the Alps and their mystique.
Blair and I stole away for some snow tubing at 10,000 feet. Beats the heck out of North Carolina. We explored an underground glacier before heading down to Trusbee peak which was a mere 7,000 feet high. We walked around the glacial lake. Blair performed her rendition of the “Sound of Music” and I recorded it on the I-phone. She wanted me to record it for us as a self-indulgent moment of fancy. I decided it need to be the family entertainment before dinner. I learned my lesson.
Also, my brother Dan and I took a train ride up to Engelberg on Monday, the day we arrived in Luzern. We rented bikes and caught the train north. Once in Engelberg we headed back on the 22 mile track to Luzern. It was a mix of gravel road, pavement and bike lanes. Dan loves the crazy bike trails that curve along cliffs and rocky terrain and there were plenty of them. I made it clear we were not doing that. Balancing a bike, anticipating turns and trying not to slide off a 1,000 foot cliff is Dan’s idea of heaven. For me it’s the other place. It requires too much work. So we stuck to paved roads mostly and I found my rest.
We rode with pedal-assisted bikes which means we were moving at a good clip. Cowbells rang in the valleys, the moderate air a relief from the humidity in Georgia. The mountains that towered on both sides gave a feeling of safety, while homes dotting the green hills made you think you could live there until you thought about the cold winters. I love riding because my mind can escape, especially on the lonely bike lanes wandering through these villages. I didn’t have to concentrate on twist and turns but could get wrapped up in the new scenery awaiting after each mountain and the approach of a new village.
In the midst of the work routine, my brain always seems to churn, even when I’m not at work. It’s like your brain is pedaling a bike to the point of muscle lock-down, but your brain keeps trying to pedal. But the fresh air, the new forms and legs pedaling allowed my mind to be free to wander off its tiresome treadmill and be restored so that the work I love can be refreshed.
With the feel of real sweat down my shoulders, the glacial river running swiftly beside us, I kept pushing towards Luzern and while moving at 27 km/hr felt my heart still and at peace in the silence of God.
In this beautiful place, I found the healing balm of nature. I think of the words of the psalmist in Psalm 8, “O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”
For those who read this, I pray you find time for your heart’s replenishment as you are lifted into the presence of the divine through God’s handiwork.