As the season slows and I settle into a new life here in Switzerland, I am trying to explore as much of my surroundings as possible. Every day I pull on my boots, my coat and my gloves and I venture into the Swiss landscape to explore the place I now call home. One of the most beautiful walks I have done is to Städtlerwald. This little forest is perched on a hill overlooking Cham and is the perfect place to feel the changing seasons.
It’s about a 1,2km walk from where I live. The road winds between houses and safe streets where children play. Houses here are cute, and a mix of modern and traditional – much like the people.
The road worms through a bit of Cham before breaking out above it, and you find yourself in the grasslands. Städtlerwald is in sight.
Städtlerwald in itself is not too big. It’s a collection of misshapen trees that tower above Cham on the hillock. It breathes with life. Women push their prams here, couples bring their dogs, there are even horse riders in these neck of the woods.
I know it as my running trail. A few months ago, Chris had brought me for an evening run here – and I have grown attached ever since. There is an adventurous trail that sticks to the fringes of the forest and totals to 2.4 km. It’s a nice route to lap with even a few obstacles to clamber over. It’s a beautiful escape from the ‘busy’ city of Cham.
There is something brittle about autumn, breakable. The way the twigs crack beneath heavy boots and leaves crunch under horse hooves. Even the nosy dogs kick up a trail.
I could walk for hours through the forest and marvel at the trees. Some trees are stacked like spears, clustered tall and upright. Others were forgotten by their owners and lay scattered on the soft forest floor.
Everything is suspended in a vertical dance. The leaves, the insects, even the warm columns of steam I am rapidly exhaling. It rose up into the air before stooping and vanishing.
The falling leaves remind me of an hourglass, counting away the seconds before winter grips Städtlerwald. Suddenly, I become acutely aware of how brittle and transient autumn is. As such, I will make the best of this impermanent season as much as I can.