Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Evening in Paris

"Sunny Saturday Morning" used to be my three favorite words in the English language, but I think they dropped to number 2 when I typed the title to this post.  "An Evening in Paris" now ranks at the top.

The Eiffel Tower at twilight?  Yes please.

I have very few warm and cozy memories from my childhood.  Our house was not one of support or nurturing.  Happiness and tranquility were elusive.  But they did pop up occasionally and it was incredibly welcomed.  For a few summers we had a tradition of meeting Gam (my maternal grandmother and favorite person ever) down at Wind 'n Sea beach in San Diego to have pizza and watch the sunset.  We'd spread out blankets, fill paper lunch bags with sand and candles and wait for the show.

The peace of watching a deep orange sun slip beneath the Pacific became something I'd look forward to.  I always marveled at how quickly it happened, how quiet it could make us and I took it as a sign that there was something much bigger out there than we could ever imagine.

I hadn't felt that familiar rush of wanting to see a sunset so badly until we were making our way up the two elevators that it takes to get to the top of the Eiffel Tower.

We made it.  And it was spectacular.  

Instead of orange, the sun was a fiery magenta.  The city of Paris was washed in a pale pink.  Wind through our hair and a 360 degree view of the city that had captured my heart after four short days, shook me.  I don't know that I have ever felt more at home, more in my own skin, more ME than I did at that moment.  I felt raw and exposed, like my heart was outside of my body and there was nothing I could do to hold it inside.

Lucky for me, I no longer needed to.

After we got our feet back on the ground, we walked down to the Seine for an hour long boat ride.

Oh readers, if only I had a better camera!  This experience was my all time favorite moment in Paris.  The gentle trudging of the open boat up the wide river, passing under the beautifully arched bridges with the monuments of Paris lit up on both sides of the Seine.  Edith Piaf sang on crackling speakers, hundreds of swing dancers danced in promenades on the side of the river.  And an Italian man was so moved, he proposed to his girlfriend on the spot.  We saw bands playing and people waving as we passed by them.  Were they waving hello?  Or perhaps goodbye.  

Goodbye life I once knew ... it will never be the same.

We rounded the Ile St. Louis and headed back toward the Eiffel Tower for chocolate crepes.  And as we walked to the Metro licking our fingers and laughing, the Eiffel Tower turned from the shade of blue it had been all night, to this ... 

White lights twinkled, just like those candles on the beach did for me long ago as if to remind me that yes indeed, there definitely is something bigger to this world.


belladella said...

I have chills. I knew you would get it. I take that back, I knew it was a part of you. And it changes you at the same time. Chills!

Big Hair Envy said...

Amazingly beautiful - the story as well as the pictures. I grew up poor, and the beach was a freebie. I couldn't get enough of it. Something about the ocean touches my soul to the core. It's impossible to explain if you've never felt it before. Obviously, you get it!! Does that make us soul mates? said...

Wow! That is just beautiful! I am sooo glad you got to go and love living vicariously through you while you area there!