Whispers of the Museum

My winter trip to the Barr sawmill

Dear friend,
It was in 1775 ( ?),
When I was called upon to pay a visit to a young man who was ill at the Barr sawmill, about 4 hours from here, on the other side of the Champ du Feu. It was cold and a bit foggy. The higher up the mountain we went, the clearer and milder the weather became. There was no wind, which was strange. The valleys and mountains were blanketed in dazzling white. The forests of fir trees were sweet smelling and shadowy. The icy snow reflected the sunlight so much that I had to take off my gloves and coat. The snow, which at that point was completely frozen, carried me and the horse, which, by the way, was necessary. You know how hard it has been since childhood for my feet to cope with a sustained effort, especially in the mountains. In places, the horse would sink down a bit more, so I would dismount and guide it until I was so exhausted I’d have to cling to the horse again with my flaccid feet.
After crossing the upper stretch of the Champ du Feu with my guide, I witnessed the silent and vast, clear and gorgeous expanse of nature and the seeming closeness of the sky, and I was inspired with an indescribable renewed courage, deep in my soul.

Excerpted from “Annales du Ban de La Roche surtout de la Paroisse de Valdersbach Commencées l’an 1770” Manuscript – Collections of the J.F. Oberlin Museum