The View

illustrations by icons8.com

What do you see when you look out of your window? Stop, put the magazine down (only for a minute) then go and really look out of the window.

How often do we really, truly look at what’s around us? We’re so busy, caught up in our day to day. Hectic mornings, getting the kids, the family ready to leave the house, commute, get to work, rush, rush, rush, it’s hard to notice the world we’re living in.

When we fi rst moved here eight years ago, I made a pact with myself that I wouldn’t take the grandeur, the splendor of these awe-inspiring mountains, for granted. It’s easy when you’re first here, when you’ve moved from suburban Manchester and the view from your window was your neighbours garden and suddenly you have this – view – it’s so hard to believe that it’s really there.

Over time I started to spend more time looking down than up. Starting a couple of small businesses meant a lot of time on my phone. Ridiculous screen time, learning how to navigate social media, playing with the algorithms more than I was playing with the falling snow. Rushing, once more, from school drop to work and in my main job as an holistic therapist, spending most of my days in my selfstyled ‘woodland cave’ – with no windows.

I did get to a point of total tech overload. I love social media, I love the connections that my words written online bring to me, but I defi nitely felt lost, distant, disconnected from nature.

We’re lucky enough to live on the side of the hill directly opposite Pleney. We’ve got a great big sliding window that looks out across the valley. I looked at that view every day for four years. I posted pics of it on my socials, but did I really look at it?

When lockdown hit in March 2020, spring properly started; long, hot sunny days. So we sat outside a lot. The snow started to melt quickly as there was no point in grooming the pistes anymore. We had a little bet between ourselves to see when it would finally melt. Turns out there’s a little sheltered spot just under the fi rst clump of trees to the right of the bubble path, where the snow really lingers. We were all looking at the mountain everyday and scrutinising it to see who would guess the closest. It was the 28th May when it finally disappeared.

In our front garden we’ve got a beautiful beech tree. Every spring I’ve waited to see it bud and I always miss it. All of a sudden it’s got loads of leaves and I wonder how I missed them coming. During March and April 2020, I sat everyday with a coffee and watched the tree. I saw the birds starting to come out and hop about on its branches (we made homemade bird feeders then I asked for a bird table for my 40th – totally rock n’ roll!). I saw the first buds come and I watched as the tree started to unfurl its beautiful red gold leaves. It felt good to see it, finally. After a busy summer we went back into a lockdown for November and I got to sit again and watch all the leaves fall.

In 2020 I looked at our view so much, for so long. I now notice somany different things about the valley; the way the town lights up as evening comes in, which parts of town get their snow cleared first on winter mornings, traffic jams (as much as there ever are) when morning deliveries begin on the top part of rue du Bourg. I can see the carousel going round in the square opposite the Office de Tourisme. Parapentes landing on the front de neige behind the Aubergade. Wedding ceremonies on the front lawn at The Farmhouse.

I know that the woodland on Pleney is a mix of evergreen and deciduous trees. Watching the greens change to orange and brown, the pines getting darker, some trees losing their leaves, the first snow settling, I know those woods now.

Green fields like you cannot believe, turning to golden bales of hay, turning to powder fields of pure white. Untouched. Then you spot a line from an early ski tourer, then more and more until the mountain is cross crossed with adventures.

A view that is never the same, a view that you can immerse yourself in, mindfulness, meditation, a true moment of peace as the world around stills and quiets and your focus is purely on finding that beauty that is so often right there in front of you; yet you’re too busy to see it.

If you’re reading this in Morzine then lucky you, you’ve got it easy, almost everyone would say their view is the best. If you’re in suburban Manchester it might be a little harder, but it’s still there. The colour of the sky, blue or silver grey. The passage of the clouds, the change in the sky from a city sunset. The refl ections in your neighbours window.

When we stop, just for a minute, breathe and look around us with fresh eyes, this world is a wondrous place. Look after it, look after you, post it on Insta, but only after you’ve really looked at it with real eyes.

The View
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