As I sit in the living room of my Paris apartment writing this post, looking out over Rue Saint Antoine with a café au lait – as I have every morning for almost 2 months now, there is an unmistakable air of melancholy. It is my last morning in the apartment. Where have these past 2 months gone? It is funny, while inside this time it seemed eternal, as though there had been nothing before it and there couldn’t possibly be anything after. This ancient apartment and my neighborhood of Village Saint Paul in the Marais has become its own little universe, suspended outside of ordinary time. Now that it is drawing to a close, it seems to have also passed in the blink of an eye. It is hard to describe what this time, apartment and city have meant to me. No longer a tourist, Paris will always be my second home now.
I feel that it will take a while to actually “unpack” my thoughts about this time in Paris. I have experienced much happiness, freedom and discovery, but also some sadness and pondering. I have continued to greave the loss of my Mom, and also process my decision to leave my position as a hotel General Manager, and wondering what the next chapter will hold. It has confirmed that no matter where we roam, you can’t escape the shadow self, those nagging things that call from the repressed recesses of your mind and heart, demanding to be dealt with…their pound of flesh, regardless of where you go. Things that need to be worked out between you and yourself. You cannot escape it my friends. They will be waiting for you with the rest of your bags at the luggage carrousel at the end of your flight, and the first to find your forwarding address. I have learned that it is necessary to turn and face yourself, whatever your fears or old hurts may be, and deal with them in order to truly move on.
Just as I have watched the days in Paris go from the cold and grey of late March to the warmth and bloom of spring in April, to the heat, sun and abundance of summer splendor by late May, I too have begun to unthaw. As I have witnessed these glorious changes of season in Paris at this time of natures annual rebirth, I see that life also has its own cycle of “seasons”. It was as though mother nature herself was reminding me that even when the frozen twilight of winter seems as though it may never end…the first buds of springs color and joy lay just below the surface. It has been my profound pleasure and privilege to have spent this season or so in my beloved Paris. This time in my splendid isolation has made me both more adaptable and resourceful as a person and traveler, but also shown me how important my friends, family and community back home in Canada are. Wherever we go, “home” resides within us…a nest feathered by the love of people and things that matter the most. Paris, I now also hold you and the wonderful people I have met here in this special place, that always feels like home.
I have included a random collage of images that I have captured during my time here. Images of architecture, art and nature, they represent Paris through my eyes. Creative, colorful, ancient and beautiful beyond words.