I walked across the Avenue d’Albigny towards the mountains and the lake and noticed the frost that wrapped itself around blades of grass as a glistening shroud. Le Pâquier was almost empty save for a few cold souls in the distance. It was 8am, the market would be waking the townsfolk with the scents of Savoy cheeses and salty bundles of saucisson, but I had resolved to sit by the lake, away from the cobbled old town.
As I walked, passing a well wrapped OAP with a tiny little white dog that held its nose up high, I noted how the mountains reached beyond sight, and delved deep into the lake, glistening and mirrored, but draped in morning mist. The morning here had a wonderful transformative power. People, if they were awake, were in their cars driving to work in Switzerland or up high in the mountains, or buying cheese and bread on the market. The sun was warm enough to lure tourists and locals to the park after lunch time, but the chill from the night before had yet to leave us, and so they were nowehere to be seen.
When I reached the lake, I watched a small family of swans interrupt the calm of the water before gently making their way to the Pont des Amour. They left still, misty waters in their wake. A lone boat tied just off shore bobbed but made no audible sounds, though the waters feint kiss as it touched the jetties that reached outwards into the lake, provided the morning with a rising rhythm of tranquility. The sun was already beginning to warm the water, and the lack of breeze helped to create at least a subtle feeling of warmth. The green grass, though still wet from melting frost, was beginning to grow again. The mountains, snow capped and jagged, became clearer as the thick swirls of mist evaporated, showing that some of the trees had retained their leaves even though winter had held on to the start of spring like an overprotective grandmother grasping a new born baby.
As I sat, the path before me began to get busier, quiet conversation hid under the white noise of the breeze and the lake began to shudder, the reflection of the mountains riding small waves until becoming nothing, replaced by the waking wildlife and the boats crossing the lake to Menthon Saint Bernard and beyond. I breathed in the warming air of a late spring and made my way towards the old town, crossing the Pont des Amour and its collection of newly arrived tourists snapping photos of the mountains, while dodging cyclists who zoomed over the arched bridge with little effort. The Jardins de l’Europe were busy with people, dogs and parked cycles. I walked quickly through the trees and past monuments in memory to Claude Louis Berthollet and sundials in praise of the sun, until finally reaching the old town with its distinctive Palais de l’Isle and the busy market in full bloom.
I entered the throng of the market and quickly forgot the calm of the lake.