In Basel, Switzerland, last Sunday on a river tour with Rosemary, we enjoyed watching a tradition play out in front of us in our deck chairs on the docked M.S. (motor ship) Inspire of the Tauck Company. The scene was simple enough, but in the moment I felt there was something bigger going on and wrote about it in the Notes component of my Apple phone. Here’s a link to a promotional site in Basel.
Bells at five on the Rhine, running silver-blue
North to Mannheim and Nijmegen,
This hot slow Sunday, late August in Basel,
Where the banks are fleshed bridge to bridge
And past my view—the good citizens soaking.
One of them enters the water each minute,
Adding to the flotilla of loafers and thrashing jocks,
In the ritual float or swim, most with a sealed colored bag,
The Wickelfisch, bobbing ahead, a freelance buoy,
Its clothes, phone, and wallet aiming for Strasbourg,
But bathers stop long before France and swim to land
To repeat while sun warms the wall where folks combine,
Watching out for each other, no lifeguards in sight,
The authorities on season break in the Italian hills.