September.

There was a Sunday a few weeks ago, which for the people of Zurich was the last day of an amazing summer. Not an official last day, but one where instead of just hanging wet swimming clothes out to dry ready for the next day, you washed them, knowing they might not be needed for another year.

August quietly became September. After living in Australia for five years, I don’t have an automatic association between a month and a season. I have had two January babies, but where one was a winter baby, the other was a summer baby. I associate Christmas with drinking mulled wine, chestnuts and cold noses as much as I do with singing carols on the beach.

September in Switzerland marks the alpine cows coming down from the mountains for the autumn and winter months. We took the train in a different direction than usual, away from the city, where the mountain peaks appeared closer than normal, and joined the villagers in a festival to welcome the cows home. We heard them before we saw them, the distinctive clanging of the cowbells ringing as they ran past us, before slowing to a more soothing sound as the beautifully decorated cows stopped for a drink at the fountain in the village square.

Two years ago when it was September, I was preparing for the move to Switzerland. It was spring. I couldn’t really picture how life in Switzerland would be. I couldn’t have imagined that two years later it would seem normal to me to take a train to the middle of nowhere to see some cows. But just as the rhythm of our days change with the changing of the season, we adapt to what comes our way.

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