These days I am visiting the place I grew up. I spent so many years here. All here is so familiar, every tree, every house, every meadow. I am sure I will not be able to live here anymore. I would have trouble to reintegrate, but everything here smells like home, feels like home. There are the neighbors pulling me into conversations. They want to know how I am and what I am doing and within seconds I am the little boy again, living here, playing tricks on my neighbors, stealing raspberries from their bushes. It feels good.

This morning I decided to go out for a run. It was about 8am in the morning. Dark grey clouds passing low or hanging on the mountains around. Morning fog everywhere and the air was clear and humid. A deep breath and I started. I passed the houses of our neighbors and it almost appears that the time didn’t move that much forward here. Many of the former agricultural or industrial buildings are not used anymore and empty since a few years. They are decomposing or collapsing. Trees and bushes, nature is taking back the places slowly. It is sad to see this, the former bustle is gone, silence. But despite of all this, there is a feeling of peace noticeable.

This is my village, almost a feeling of security. All those houses and people, which appear so familiar, but also so unfamiliar meanwhile at the same time. Strange feeling. I am passing a memorial of World War II. As pupil I have been here many times with my school class. I remember the muster, hoisted flags and the battle songs.

I am running through the forests of my youth. Here I learned cross-country skiing. Here I participated so many competitions in running and skiing. Here are the places my dad took me with ski during winter times. He took me so many times on skiing tours into these mountains, explained the trees and animals living here, showed me traces and could name every mountain in visibility range with name and exact height. I haven’t been here for years but up here I know almost every tree. So many memories around. I also found the place where I knocked myself unconscious with a skiing stick. I was a kid and I wanted to show something with the ski pole to the guy behind me. I was fast and the pointy end of the stick hit a tree and within the next second the other end hit my head and knocked me out. I passed this place today with a smile.

So many paths I almost forgot, but I know them all. And there the little lake in the forest. Here we built a raft out of self-chopped trees. We have been kids. How many times did I pass these trees on skis. Uncountable times. Meanwhile the clouds vanished partly and the first sun beams are falling through the trees. This forest smells even more like home.

This morning I passed many of those places. There are so many memories around here. A herd of cows was interested in me and followed me as long as the meadow fence allowed. Funny scene when about 200 cows are coming towards you and run for some time next to you. Obviously not too many people are coming to those lonely places. And I also saw some deers in the forest and on the meadows. Everything appears so intact, almost untouched and nature is taking back every sign of former hustle.

When I returned the sun was shining and warming up the landscape already. Most of the clouds and fog were gone and a beautiful new day started in my home village. Nice to be back.