Remembering Paris

Paris romance

bittersweet

chocolate

A friend is writing and blogging about her trip to Paris for the river of stones writing challenge – (thepremiseisgrace.wordpress.com) – http://wp.me/p10qxe.xg and she is bringing back memories so wonderful that I thought I would put on my beret, sip some wine, take out the dusty and now ancient photo albums (before digital cameras, iphones, flickr etc.) and walk down the cobbled streets of Parisian nostalgia.

I too stayed in a classic artist apartment in the Marais district. At the street level, you entered a gated square courtyard with a few merchant’s shops and through a door up a steep narrow stairwell (carrying tall baguettes of course). These well worn wooden handrails and bevelled steps carried all the weight, joy and angst of many a homemaker and worker in earlier times. At each small landing (we were on the sixth floor) there was a tall window and as you reached the top you were treated to views of the tiled, tiered and pigeoned city rooftops and brilliant sky.

The apartment was non descript except for the old bathtub and closet that served as a kitchen, however the view down into the courtyard and peaking into the other apartments made me drool for city living albeit though only if the city is Paris or maybe Vienna. I like to believe this apartment was originally the garet-home of a struggling but pleasant impressionistic painter or poet (me in another lifetime?)

Once outside, if I close my eyes, I can still hear the French conversation, feel the narrow and rustic cobblestones underfoot and the aromas of cafes and patiseries. I’m still amazed that a non-coffee drinker like myself who will occasionally imbibe a steaming latte could drink the fresh brewed Parisian cafe coffee sans milk and sugar always served with a smalll homemade cookie or ‘chocolat’. That fresh, that smooth that pure. Sigh, sigh, sigh and then some heavy sighing. I still have the wrapper from my favorite dark chocolate (savored and still in use as a bookmark).

When I reopen my eyes to return outdoors, the juxtaposition of romantic architecture and stylish fashion boutiques is startling in wonderment as well as color and marketing. Always pushing boundaries and yet classic at the same time as only the French know how to do chic. Onto the musees and markets another time. I will continue the rest of the tour and wine on my own now. Sorry there are no photos of Paris to share here as it was the pre-digital, presharing age with a Holly Golightly feel to it. Honestly, I wrote all this without photos. Just a nudge from Grace’s blog got me going. The beauty of words brought me back to Paris and its legendary grace.

Still quirky after all these years

Just read a theatre review in the NYT about a “wistful comedy” in which the female protagonist is described as a “quirky post-hippie in peasant skirts and crocheted panchos”.

Whew.

Flashback and fast forward. I really had to look hard at myself and sister artists of a certain age. Are we really that much of a cliche (sans accent here)? I know that when I showed up at a surprise hippie-themed party for my 50th birthday (nine years ago), I was told that I was appropriately dressed without even being aware of it. While I think of it as being tres (again no accent over the e) stylish, I have to question it now as a nostalgic throw-back to freer youthful times. Or more honestly, stuck in a rut and not knowing any other way to dress.

The female lead is also described as “a charmer dressed in bohemian chic”. Somehow, I like and relate to this description much better. Who wouldn’t? Boho chic. Romantic and aware. Whimsical and carefree.

Or is it purely out-of-date once-a-hippie always-a-hippie? Does it really matter? Not to this “quirky post-hippie, boho chic, love my blue jeans and always will – just let me wear something comfortable today”.

Halloween…
she asks to borrow
my hippie jeans*

*published The Heron’s Nest

Out of gray green fog

In the Long of Night

the mystery unfolds
a seed bursts through
the door to ancient wisdom

unaware of stirrings
beyond her ken
an opening

the dance begins
words flow
wonder takes hold

imagination kindles
a new light
a path through darkness

out of gray green fog
her heart beats in rhythm
the mystery within

a tango
the journey
this moment

ag / 2012