August

August begins with the Swiss National Day. The people of Gimmelwald usually meet outside the school where there is some sort of entertainment programme. Sausages are grilled and eaten while folklore music is played. There is a procession with lanterns for the children and as soon as it is dark there is a firework display. The first days of August are often the hottest of the year, but they cannot be compared to the dog days of the lowlands. The heat in Gimmelwald is always bearable, and in the evenings it is pleasantly cool. In the middle of August the weather often changes. Sometimes we have the first snow. After a few dull days we realise that it is autumn. The air becomes clearer and the alpine meadows gradually change from green to yellow. In summer clouds often appear over the Schilthorn quite early but now the sky remains clear all day. The mushroom-picking season starts for many people in Gimmelwald and they seek out their secret places where ceps and chanterelles can be picked. Some years there are masses of bilberries and cranberries. Towards the end of August the 'wild hay-making' begins. The highest place I know of is the Brünli at an altitude of 2100m. The yield is so meagre that it is only worth hay-making there every two years. Nature takes longer to regenerate at this altitude.