Ode to Paris

Thomas Jefferson wrote about you, dear friend,photo 196

“A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history,

beauty, and in the point of life.”

And so right he was

You captured and delighted my heart

At the wonderful age of 21,

photo 195When I stood atop your Tour Eiffel and proclaimed

To the wind, ‘I shall return’

I was in love

As much as anyone can be with a city

photo 184You, the city of lights, put a twinkle in my eye, a dance in my feet

And a deep sense of freedom in my soul.

You befriended me and as often as I have been able

Through summer, fall, winter and spring

I have returned to hold your hand

photo 190And walk about with you.

Giddiness arises within as the plane touches down at Charles de Gaullephoto 181

For I know that I am close

An RER ride or taxi brings me to your doorstep

And I am home

You share with me the deepening gift of freedom

Each time I alight at your door and cross your threshold

Ready to try new things, wander old neighborhoods

And lose myself in wonder

My heart expands and I fall in love again

photo 192With the pathway in the sculpture garden at Musee Rodin

With the simple pleasures found in gazing through the boulangerie windowphoto 183

Strolling through the Jardin des Tuilieries

As my eye seeks to take in all that I can

Hundreds of year old statues grace your lawns and gardens

And claim you as their home

Musee Marmottan invites me in through the door

photo 178And I am drawn into the world of Monet as if he were

Alive and well, standing right next to me

L’Orangerie beckons mephoto 177

With its infinity line architecture

And luxurious Monet water lilly canvasses

I could remain here for days

My eyes feasting upon the colors

My mind sinking into silence

And my heart expanding with solitude

Even the Louvre calls my name

As I step into the newest addition to its wings

photo 179The art of Islam

Rich blues, golden yellows and deep reds draw me in

As I walk past old doorways and frames,

Windows and arches

I no longer feel a need to try to fit everything in

One or two sections beckon me and I linger as

My feet slowly and quietly walk themselves along the marble floor

Statues that are aged whisper my name

And a quiet knowing fills me as I stop and gaze at the womanphoto 200

Holding onto the scallop shell

You remind me to love the pilgrim within

To linger

To savor

No need to rush about,

It’s time to set aside my tourists heart

And be.

photo 175I sip a cappucinno at the café across from Saint Sulpice

And listen as the soft music of your native tongue

Dances about my head,

My eyes are drawn outward and toward the fountain in front of the church

Lions on all four corners remind me of Aslanphoto 187

And draw me in with their warmth

And I wonder,

‘How is it possible to feel that something is so alive

when they are made of stone?’

I silently thank the artist who sculpted them in such a way

And I feel that  if I were to cross the street and stretch my hand out in front of their faces

Their very breath would blow over and surround me.

photo 185I wander by a boulangerie and a raspberry tart whispers

‘Come delight in me

Let’s go together to the Jardin du Luxembourg

And befriend each other on a chair in the garden.’

How else am I to reply, but with a resounding

‘Yes’

Together we saunter and meander our way through the narrow streets

And find the perfect chair for us to cement our relationship

A quiet and gentle, ‘Ah’

Escapes my lips

And in that moment, all is well with the world.

“I held my breath as we do sometimes to stop time when something wonderful has touched it,” wrote Mary Oliver

The laughing ladies sculpture in the free exhibit hallphoto 186

In the gardens

Stop me in my tracks and I rejoice in the gift of their presence

Surprised in Paris tickles my soul

And I laugh out loud

The joy the artist crafted through them

Sends warm waves through my belly

And this is what I long for

For our urban Paris pilgrimage in the spring.

Paris, you gift me with your presence

photo 198I turn a corner and yet another architectural surprise greets me

My feet carry my body, mind and soul into your chambers at Notre Dame

Where, ‘Sh, silence’ welcomes me

Beckoning me again to slow down

Pause, breathe deeplyphoto 199

And be

Lingering over a glass of wine around the corner from Rue Princesse

Savoring a delectable duck confit dinner

Not only is my stomach satisfied

But my soul and internal self is enriched

photo 176Merci, dear Paris

You and I are becoming dearer friends

Merci,

Je t’aime.photo 191

There’s still one more spot for our Urban Paris Pilgrimage: Where sole greets soul, May 10 – 17, 2014. If you’re interested email me:

sharon@richardsfam.com

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One Comment Add yours

  1. What a delightful post. I’ve never been to Paris, but my wife has. The pictures are really awesome. I discovered your post when I googled Gerald May’s chapter “Entering the Emptiness” from The Awakened Heart. I couldn’t find my Awakened Heart for a while … and then this past week I found it again. YAY! Okay, good post … Keep writing, keep living life.

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