I sort of just walk over the border. I just walk in. Dissatisfied with the casualness of this I go back to the border and see if anyone wants to look at my passport. I point out the date and place of my birth but they do not need to stamp my passport anymore. The tranquility of the 21st century. I walk into Switzerland. The sky is bluer here, the water clearer, the fish in the water look happier, the farmers smile, the dogs dont bark, the shade seems cooler, the cherries more scarlet. And the hills, steeper. But for this thundery haze from this small peak I would be able to see the highest peaks in three countries. This glorious dappled light and these calm bees. I Walk down the hills under the shade of thunder clouds forks flash in my mind, too fast to see, I scuttle across the fields, aluminium strapped to my back. I walk into Schaffhausen, Switzerland. I sit down and I sit down and I sit down, And I sit.
Stuhlingen, Germnay, is literally on the border, its just the other end of town, I wake up late, casual, look round town a little, picking up pickles and trying to find a plug converter. There are little footpath signs that have in km the distance to places like Schleitheim, Hemmental, and Schaffhausen, they all have a little (CH) in brackets after them. Confederatio Helvetica. Switzerland. This is as exciting as it is surreal, and as it is normal. Im just going for a walk, just 20km or so, nothing too taxing, a hill in the way but really, I feel like a crow flying to whom borders are meaningless, a gesture that exists for maps and for language but matters little to rivers, or to trees, the air or the birds. Walking flattens nations, disempowers them. I just walk in. The border guards are busy talking to a man in a Jaguar and I just walk in. This is certainly unsatisfactory. I want someone to notice me for once, so I turn back and go and knock on the little door of the booth. They notice my place of birth and the date, I ask for a stamp in my passport but they don’t even have a stamp anymore, only airports or international trains they explain. Their English is excellent, they wish me a happy birthday and a good days walking. I make for the beginning of my route, the town of Schleitheim, then Hemmental, then Schaffhausen over the hill line. I follow the road for a couple of kilometres, breathing easliy, wave at a few farmers in a few fields, tending vineyards, it is hot, the sky is a crisp clear blue rising forever. The buildings have an air of age to them, the traditions of the place seep out of the very ground.
I had forgotten, really, that Swiss-German is an entirely seperate language.