Does sex still run the world?
Do all stories have to be rich in clashing moments, heroic rhythm, and far-reaching resonance? It isn’t possible to write something without saying anything? Just in case, please check my report: With “Le Bisse du Tssitoret” towards the “L’Alpage du Sex” (translation follows). I do have a cute little story for this post but I do not have any controversy, confrontation, or argument to enflame the spirits. * It is accurate to write about something that will leave everybody calm? People, need confrontation otherwise they sneer, snooze, snort, and snore. Homer goes into the mix and asks for divine support, as soon as he launches the Iliad through the detailed relation of the bitter conflict between Achilles and Agamemnon. There Will Be Blood,(2007) you see? But let’s proceed correctly (keyword) and hope that controversy will rise like a cobra’s nervous head. It is time now to tell what a “ Le Bisse” and a “L’Alpage” are because not everybody is nowadays (when we have the SMART and are COOL) indulging in the study of old foreign languages. The “La Bisse” in Swiss-French designs an irrigation channel in a picturesque mountainous area with obvious agricultural function and not little tourist appeal. The “L’Alpage” means in basic French a mountain pasture, an upland, where herds of bovines, ovins, or caprins are brought to graze peacefully during summer, enjoy first quality grass, and become fat and meaty. All, for their own good.
While at Crans Montana as the guest of the Effendi, who sometimes indulges in practical jokes, my host proposed a benign hike along a famous “Bisse”. I took the disguised nicety as a personal insult being certain that the lout did very well know that during the last two years, I was intermittently plagued with back pains, leg pains, right shoulder disfunction, vicious gout attacks, and even sciatic brand stabbings. You name it, I have them all! Except that, I feel well. Don’t worry, says the fox in front of me while I was unable to hide an expression of terminal disbelief, it is a very beautiful, even, and quiet path, softly activating the limbs and fool-proof relaxing the mind. Now if you are expecting me to tell you how treacherous my friend could be you risk staying hungry. On the contrary, of the “Bisse” bonanza making Crans famous, my friend chose the evenest and the easiest one, the Bisse du Tsittoret. Built in the XV century it takes its water from La Tièche, a nearby mountain brook. The first fifty meters, very much like a terrifying vertical wall, were murderously making me hallucinate to return to life immediately as a mule or as an ibex. Imagine me plodding forward, with bent knees, breathing hard, truck style tone, with stooped shoulders, jerky moves, abundant forehead liquidity, and glassy gaze, while my bowed head was preceding my toes by three centimeters only. Panting I landed, crying for a beer mug into a feeding station called Le relais de la Colombire. It was built of aggressive concrete that increased my rotten mood.
No wonder I missed the blessed and miraculous passage of the Driad (a wood nymph probably). The glorious lass, airy winged gazelle crossed the setting in a glimpse and changed the scenery in a whiff. From the wall of death and the Atlantic bunker, I landed in an enchanted forest. Hard to believe. Did this occur? It was what I felt. I have to rely like many people on my feelings. I am not roaming around with exact tools of measure and apprehension. So, I found myself treading on a finely graveled forest path lazily winding between a screen of mighty privileged pines (never quartered, die on the spot, and rot on place, aristocratic coniferous) at the right and a gentle mountain slope generously padded with bright flowery cushions and elegant ellipses of joyful sunshine, at the left. The already subtle and meditative setting, eventually a result of the Swiss compulsive involvement with nature, was exponentially enriched by the most playful, agile, transparent, and tamed torrent running to meet us between the rocky wall and the rustic path. The torrent’s canal was provided with cute metal locks to let, when programmed (remember the location), the water flow into the wide, down-the-slope pastures that could accommodate large herds of bovines producing the famous milk for the Nestle chocolate, one of the two sources of the Swiss actual extravagant richness. I am not going to say anything about belching or farting or any related habits the herbivores fancy to produce astronomic quantities of methane and CO2 leading to the enormously threatening, soon terminal, greenhouse effect. It is very possible that the peaceful beasts didn’t find another way to protest the continuous slaughter, sometimes extremely cruel, to which they are submitted, and concomitantly, to claim Hindu Home rule, all over and now! I have to say that I just don’t care too much. Notwithstanding having an apocalypse at hand, until the game is over, let’s have fun as long as we can enjoy it or more. The precious stream was refreshing the air with a special water fragrance brand, was creating, even sponsoring, multicolor flowery beds, rich wildflower sets, on both its sides, and was fluidly accompanying whatever rustle and whippers, humming and buzzing, chirping and singing the animate and inanimate surroundings were producing when they did. From time to time narrow and wide hiatuses within the wooden curtain allowed one to seize and size the majestic view of the Rhone Valley hemmed south by a wondrous chain of monumental alpine sentinels.
The hike was turning to communion. It is no wonder that after a while, I got caught by a feeling of consubstantiality, with nature and cosmos, that I became suddenly bio and romantic, that I began to forget my old stick legs limitations, and started to gambol, to spring and to parade goat-like. Age and folly went always hand in hand notwithstanding a conspicuous number of young fools. At the end of the track, we ran into a large open area where a small but water-rich cascade was falling, foamingly and friskily from a sharp rocky ridge a dozen meters above the now, wider path. My cicerone told me that there is a basin above, or cave, ** La Cave du Sex, invisible from our viewing point, ahead of the picturesque waterfall, quite actively linked to some sexual extravagant practices going back to the Neanderthal time. I was thrilled to hear that Switzerland is still a country of living traditions. Without tradition people become wild. By the way, the waterfall is called the Cascade of the Adventure, which may or may not have some connection with the emotional activity mentioned above. Underneath the track, gently outrolled on a soft slope was expanding a huge vivid green wavy carpet-like pasture field romantically studded with rustic cultural accents such a cute dairy farming station, housing a score of shiny canisters, many bicolor grazing cows, some tourists, and plain walkers, a playground for brats and a restaurant. Now the restaurant deserves some energic detailing. It has an inspiring name or better two: “L’alpage du sex” et “La buvette du sex”. While the “L’alpage” we already know, “La buvette” generally means a pleasant joint is translated in English as a refreshment area or pump room. I do not want to sound racist but I am sure that
Shakespeare will hate this semantic makeshift. In reality, the joint is quite an expensive “feeding place” where someone can indulge in Valais’ (the mixed French and German canton) countryside gastronomy while contemplating with rapture the surrounding panorama. The use of ‘SEX” in the appellation is unfortunately not more relevant than the under-the-knee TEARS of some expensive jeans. All of us know that “sex” is vigorously replaced today by the more evocative “dating”. All the Hollywood actresses, elite sports millionaires, and ambitious politicians do not have sex anymore, they have dates, blind dates. I will get out of this ludicrous argument by rapidly mentioning that the lane on which the restaurant is located is called “La route des Caves du Sex” (the road of the sex caves, etc!! ) What? more than one? ***It begins to sound like a reverend Moon collective marriage or Amsterdam Red District.
On the way back I noticed a busy hoopoe diligently scouring the pasture. I have to confess that I am fascinated by the meaningless repetition of the striped, geometrical pattern adorning the wings and crest, of this rather ungainly bird animal. It is often regarded by many as a dirty dude due to its unseemly habit of foraging for sustenance amidst the thick omelet-like cow dung. Yet, when one reflects upon the complex molecular jockeying to distribute pigments on the body’ surface one cannot help but marvel at the boundless expanse of biological energy and genetic artistry that had orchestrated this fashion craze. Probably all these embellishments are a guarantee for an increased reproductive outcome. Let’s hope that soon we will catch the birds’ skill and that human tattooing will pass to the next generation via the chromosomic avenue too.
A few seconds later I forgot the feathered sire and I quasi-religiously focused my attention on Mont Cervin (for the Latins, probably evocating the herds of Cervidae tackling the steep slopes of the colossus) or Matterhorn (for the Goths, eventually meaning the peak in the meadows). It is the dominant tectonic feature, rich with endless philosophical and theological connotations, of this particular beautiful stretch of the Rhone Valley. Its allure, its ponderous design, its aloofness, its wilderness, and even its life span impose boundless awe. It was not for peanuts that the ancients designated mountains as God’s abode. The magnetic bulk of Mont Cervin, which must have some ore inside, had a pacifying effect on my tormented soul. At last, I met in this evanescent world and in these rotten times something of a quasi-eternal duration and unremittingly growing, 1 or 2 mm by year. You can quote me.
I just began to relax while reaching the end of the first leg of my report when I received a message from a close Swiss friend to whom I sent the journey’s photos for a last-time check. She gently told me that if I didn’t want to pass for a fool, I should realize that the mountain I described in a state of combined rapture and awe was not the glorious Matterhorn but the quite banal and storiless Weisshorn. After some nervous and intense examination, I had to accept the evidence. It will be pointless to reveal that it was the mischievous, careless Effendi who indicated to me that the rocky piece of torte was the abode of God. My God, what I am going to do? Faith can move mountains they say, but I lack it totally without really missing it. My fascination with Matterhorn goes back to the time of my childhood, to the amazing story of Whymper’s conquest of the Face North, and to the blood-curling deadly accident of my dear Lord Douglas who furnished Oscar Wilde with the leaving model of Dorian Gray. What a misfortune and irreparable blow for someone, me, who was identifying himself despite some sharp sexual disparities with the prototype of the ever-young “puerus eternus” Dorian! While sad and listless I was reading again the story of the ill-fated climb I made a shocking discovery. The Lord Douglas who fell and failed was not the famous Alfred, Bosie for the friends, but a certain quite unknown Francis of little importance whatsoever. For seventy years I was plunged in, wrapped by, and cruelly misled through an irreparable error! There might be some others lurking in my shadowy memory. Better not think of. I am giving myself and eventual readers a piece of free advice. When you produce a copy hurry up to sign it and abstain from the unnecessary superfluous investigation. Errors are an unmistakable part of our life and if here and there they can have some dramatic consequences, they can also be a source of pleasant self-indulgement. As for the Matterhorn, I decided to leave the text as it is. .* ***A patient individual could even recognize the tip of its top among the chain of peaks illustrated in some of my photos. I am sure that what I said should be true despite missing a face-to-face encounter with the subject! Double-view, that exists…
*Alas for all my goodwill and martial leanings, I didn’t find an argument to insert in this post to drag the eventual reader out of his benevolent drowsiness. Within the next and related report, I will try to plant some blood-curling, berserk occurrences that might leave a long-lasting impression.
**It is my task to inform the distinguish pack of readers that I didn’t feel necessary to unify the kindred terms, such as Cave du Scex, Cave du Sex, Sex or Sexe, etc., reflecting various sources of information assuming that everyone has a clear idea about their precise signification.
***It will sound anticlimactic, and not very nice for the Wanderer, but being committed to the truth I am
forced to share the recently gathered information. It reveals that sex, sometimes scex, is a Swiss-French /Savoy word for an isolated rock/cliff that has nothing to do with wild hype taking place at the origins of Le Bisse du Tssitoret. I am sorry!
****Thank goodness that the Wanderer is preoccupied with something else and has stopped his incessant combing of this accursed post, which is on the verge of turning into a nightmare. If he were to carefully reread his description of the Weisshorn, which he mistook for the Matterhorn, he would undoubtedly realize that even there he was describing not something that lay before him but a virtual image conjured from his mental database. It is common knowledge that we see with the mind, not with the eyes. Of course, I am not going to inform the poor fellow of his repeated errors. It is not my task to provide such unpleasant commentary and I beg you to exercise discretion and composure too.
With “Le Bisse du Tssitoret” towards the “L’Alpage du Sex”