Bonjour from Paris friends!
I can’t believe that this week already marks a month since I left for Europe. In some ways the time is flying by, and in others it seems eternal. I was astounded by how returning to Paris after 4 years, it seems as though almost no time has passed. From the moment I set foot back on these cobbled streets it felt like I was picking up the thread of my daily life here, right from where I left off – somehow everything magically suspended outside of reality. Everything from the lively street scenes and markets, gentle spring weather and soft diffused light, to the glorious food, gardens and exquisite layers of history are exactly as I remember, like reentering a beautiful dream. More importantly, the wonderful way I feel here is also exactly as I remember.
On one of my recent nighttime strolls around the city I began to reflect on the timeless quality of my visits to Paris, and in particular the two extended stays I have been fortunate to have. They have allowed me the privilege of living in this special place for several months at a time, establishing a daily rhythm and routine to my life in Paris. No longer a visitor, I explore more and more off the beaten track neighborhoods, see the seasons change, celebrate holidays, interact with its people and have the simple pleasures of day-to-day life here revealed to me. Lingering over a cafe au lait, fresh baguette, daily visits to the food markets, sunny Sunday afternoons in the Luxembourg Gardens, watching the sunset on the Seine with an ice-cold Kronenbourg, midnight walks, hidden gardens, that first bite of a gloriously buttery roast chicken from the local butcher. Perfect moments.
It is this joy of daily life that makes my time here seem so familiar, comforting and connected. It feels like all of my visits both long and short over the years have been knitted together into one continuous alternate timeline…my other life in Paris. When I was young, I loved comic books, and thinking back to those superhero storylines there would often be multiple universes that a character could occupy. That premise perfectly captures how my time here feels. While in France, it as though I have always been here, “Paris Robert” patiently waiting to rendezvous again. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my life and home in Canada, but perhaps we can also have alternate universes to explore in this life? One can feel very separate from the other, and allow us to open up and be creative, heal, rest, restore and explore in very different ways then at home. Perhaps that’s what makes time spent in these places outside of our ordinary life seem so precious? We are able to redesign our days to truly reflect our innermost desires and passions rather than being byproducts of history, obligation, expectation or duty.
There is a simple quote that I love although I can’t remember the author, perhaps Hemmingway or Fitzgerald? “If ever I am lost to you, look for me in Paris.” Well said. Sometimes when I have felt a bit lost, I have always managed to find myself again in Paris. I now realize that this special place is my second home, my other universe. Somewhere I will come back to throughout my days to make sure that I continue to live my best life, refill the well when it has run dry, lay quietly with my dreams, and reconnect with a place that has engraved itself on my heart and always waits for me with open arms.
So beautiful, glad you have found your second universe, your first universe is busy getting ready for some warm days with dandelions and a few flowers.
Enjoy your space. Consider writing in your next universe as you write very well. Make me feel as though I am right there at the scene.
Enjoy all the rest of your adventure and we miss your cheerful presence .
See you soon
Thank you for your beautiful note dear Kathy – I am having a great time, which would only be made better if wonderful friends like you were here to share it with! I miss you guys as well, and will so look forward to an evening together when I return! Enjoy spring my friend!