Friday, September 5, 2008

Dear Paris

Dear Paris,

This morning I will board a plane and I hope you're ready for the sheer adoration that's coming your way.  It will be the first of many visits, of that I'm sure.  On a little table in my room, there sits a ceramic box in the shape of a heart that my Gam made many years ago.  It reads "J'Taime."  I don't know who she made it for, but I have a feeling it might be for you.  She came to visit you for the first time in her 70's and I am anxious to walk some of the same streets and see how much they've changed ... though I have a feeling many things will have stayed the same.

Next to the box is an old hotel key that I picked up in a little French shop in Portland called Coco & Toulouse.  The woman who owns the store goes on shopping trips at Parisian flea markets twice a year.  This old key sat in her little store and I gravitated toward it and would not put it down.  I wondered what type of hotel it belonged in, what the room looked like that it unlocked and who stayed there.  Tourists?  Long term renters? Clandestine lovers?  Writers or artists?  A combination of all?

The significance of the heart and key does not escape me, though their placement was not intentional.  It's not just the travel and the sense of adventure that piques my interest, though that is part of it.  Just the thought of you Paris, seemed to have unlocked a place within me that will remain open forever. 

The fact that the price of coffee and baguettes are regulated by the government so everyone can afford them.  That outdoor markets are not just an enjoyable place to shop, but that it's THE WAY people shop.  That clothes are given some thought--the way your residents style themselves as if they are pieces of art moving throughout the city.  And don't get me started on the art.  Some of the most famous paintings in history were entrusted to you.  And you let people in for free.  Children don't have to purchase tickets until they turn 18.  To make such a rich life accessible for everyone is not only admirable, but inspired.

You inspire me, Paris.  To believe in a deep life.  A rich life.  A real life.  One with perspective, of times past and yet also an appreciation for the present.  I look forward to wandering your streets, turning down unknown corners and ducking into cafes, each step blowing open every closed door in my heart.



Living on the Spit said...

Can I be stuffed in one of your luggage pieces? I am so jealous and want to live vicariously thru you! Please keep us posted on EVERYTHING! Enjoy and be safe. (I will try not to "hate" too much on you!) Love ya!

Heidi Ann said...

I am so excited for you because your enthusiasm is so apparent - and I am sure you will have the time of your life! Au Revoir! said...

I'm beginning to wonder if you can be trusted to COME BACK... ;)
I hope you have a wonderful time and can't wait to read the next post!

Anonymous said...

Have a wonderful time! We will be expecting some very interesting posts from you from Paris.