Taking A Breath In A Portal Known As –Normality
After 10 days of moving at a pace, which has left us collapsing into a heap each night, nursing sore and blistered feet, aching backs…but a heart full of beauty, I take a break and the opportunity to enjoy our own piece of Paris – the Quarter Latin, 5th arrondissement.
Parked at Le Café Poliveau I enjoy my morning ritual – espresso and croissant. I take the liberty of branding myself ‘a local’ albeit for a brief moment in time. My view is 360, six streets intersect – as they do here in Paris – this of course enhances my ability to observe with a slight movement of the head. (After all, one must been seen gawping like a tourist eh?)
Through Dissonance, Each Sound Finds Its Rhythm With The Other
A conglomeration of images…a parade…magnificent – passersby’s, scooters, motor cars, push bikes, the homeless men lounging upon ‘their’ park bench in the quadrangle opposite where the 6 streets intersect, a pram or two and a menagerie of animals…dogs, birds (no cats).
The sounds in Paris defy cacophony, more of a symphony. It seems to me, through dissonance, each sound finds its rhythm with the other. The rumble of the distant train, clickity clack of heels on the cobbled pavement, conversations like an aria – an orchestral delight of alto to soprano and the occasional baritone, the soft percussion-like whirring of the push-bikes, sirens wailing in and out from high ‘C’ to low ‘C’, bleating car horns which Parisians use to warn rather than abuse, swoosh-swoosh of the skateboard and a deeper whirring sound from the motor-scooter.
Some Things Are Universal
A pod of children rush past, laughter tinkles and sweet high voices garble in French through intermittent giggles…ahh the sound of children speaking French, like the rush of a waterfall. A young woman to my left answers her cell phone, “’ello….oui la mere…” I can hear the voice on the other end. La mere (mother) seems displeased over something, she talks rapidly, tones rising and falling – more rising than falling – young woman puts phone on the table. We exchange a furtive glance, a smile and la mère’s voice runs on and on. Young woman eventually picks phone up and carries on with the conversation, “oui la mere…” with a roll of the eyes.
Over the road, a toddler runs after his parents wailing. They walk on paying little heed to the child’s demands but seemingly aware of his safety as they frequently look back.
To my right a couple of young males talk heatedly – I pick up the word soccer. They to and fro passionately as if to debate the recent outcome of the match.
When We Find Oneness, We Find Unity And It Is Impossible To Feel Alone
I fee less alone. I may be unable to understand the conversations, but I am familiar with the universal sounds and they break down the barriers and translation is not completely lost.
As my senses, immerse deeply into the life of the norm for the locals I feel connected and find fragments of normality for myself. Yes, I am a foreigner here, but something links me – I am connected intrinsically through submergence into universal aspects. I do indeed discover a sense of oneness …and when we find oneness, we find unity and it is impossible to feel alone.
The Eiffel Tower stands tall, an elegant lady dressed in lace. She struts majestically into the blue Paris sky, a regal sense of defiance. She has defeated the naysayers, those who declared her a monstrosity, an ugly concoction of metal.
“A mere engineer construct a work of art?” Cried the Parisian savants and artists of the day. “It is unthinkable! Tear it down; it must be demolished after the World Expo!”
Ah but her stoical beauty soon won the populace over capturing the hearts of the people of Paris. And just as Paris itself captures the hearts of many travelers, over and over, so does this majestic lady who comes to life at light.
As the sun finds its descent and before the evening stars and fluctuating moon find their way into the darkening night, our beautiful lady brings life to the darkening sky. Thousands of diamonds imbedded into her lace-like structure illuminate far and wide and one can almost hear the intake of breath of the passersby.
Stepping into the Sacre Coeur I felt moved to tears. The experience was encompassing… stained glass, golden images, alters amass with candles, murals as if they were painted in heaven, the sound of the bells tolling, the massive organ which rang out like a thousand monks humming. Then the nuns joined in with voices resonating high above the alto sound of the organ like tinkling crystal. I may not have understood the words but my heart / soul /spirit did and I knew in that moment my life would be different.
(pic taken from cafe – no cameras permitted in Sacre Coeur)
Paris arouses all of my senses. Like the brush strokes in one of Monet’s paintings, the days blur into each other. As I muse upon the previous day, I can indeed see where one stroke ends and the next begins. Each stroke renders a complete experience – a rich compote of sensations, emotions and unforgettable moments etched indelibly into my psyche.
Many said I would miss the familiar sound of my native language. Yet I have found the opposite to be true. I close my eyes and allow the conversations around me – on the metro, in a café, in the park – to submerge me deep within the rich labyrinth of foreign words. I immerse myself deeper, enjoying the freedom of not having to think. Thoughts held captive or should I say suspended… I am seduced by the simple act of listening to a conversation and allowing it to wash over and through me.
The melodious rhythm of the language along with the many sounds of Paris – bells ringing, horns honking, sirens and buskers – is like being caught in the middle of street theatre or live opera. I have no need to do anything but simply…be, be, be. To hear a familiar word in my native tongue would be an intrusion – it would invade the spaces where I have found a sense of quiet from the need to think, analyse, judge, decipher….
Musee De L’Orangerie, a small museum, a smidgen of artistry compared to the Louvre but mammoth in terms of selection and memories (plus no queues) many an ‘ahh’ and ‘oh my’ moments uttered from my mouth here) – home of Monet, Renoir, Matisse, Gaillaume, Picasso, Rousseau, Cezzanne to name a few.
See album at this link: