If you read “The Fountain head” in high school, please keep reading…If you have no idea who Ayn Rand was this piece will probably have no meaning to you. For those of us who read this book page by page with hope in our hearts, please continue. You are welcome to join me in communal life. I read this book and felt for perhaps the first time there were others who were feeling lost in the perfunctory nature of life. The true meaning of life was contained within this book for me at 15, and is still there today. The search continues, the night is still long, the moon rises on the navy night sky and I still feel the same conviction if I keep at this process of understanding I will find an answer at the end. This hope is what keeps me dreaming and as John Lennon said so well, “Lose your dreams and you lose your mind.” Tonight the world seems dark and without comprehension. A woman was murdered in my neighborhood. I live in a peaceful place where the biggest problem is kids having fun late at night. This woman was 75 and lived alone having been recently widowed. She was in her garden when she was found shot through the head. An act of violence that is yet unexplained. People have called me today and said I should lock my doors. I should be careful. They said they hoped I used an alarm on my house. Surprisingly to me, I feel little fear. I used to be so afraid of the dark I would make my husband check the house often yet he would patiently arise from our warm bed and descend to the first floor of our house where some frightening person awaited him while I sat perched on the edge of the bed listening for his cry of alarm . I don’t know where that fear has gone and I wonder if it has gone too far. Maybe it would be better if I cared more about what might happen to me, but I feel confident in the protection of the universe. I believe I will be protected from all evil and people will want to love me not kill me. I wonder if this is how the murdered woman felt.
I am afraid of love more than death. I am afraid of loving someone so much I can’t imagine life without them. I am afraid of confessing this love to my beloved and seeing it is not returned. I imagine weighing my love on an enormous scale seeing it tipped out of balance by the power of this love. I feel fear so intense I will do anything to avoid it including flight, lies and seclusion.Seclusion is the first and the last resort in my life. Seclusion promises no pain and a certain amount of safety.Love is so painful and yet, so necessary. Without love you can never feel as if you are alive. This is my quest these days. I have no talisman, no special potion to take for anxiety, only a dachshund to remind me of laughter and the promise of the morning light to soften my pillow and lighten my dreams. I am looking for the reason why love has escaped me and I am designing a net rather like a butterfly catcher to help me find it now. I will wear a suit of khaki and white and shoes of the softest leather. I will walk softly in search of my desire and leave no footprints. Who knows what may happen.
Pretending to be French is fun! Probably more fun that being American though that can be fun as well. There was a slice of almond bark in the ice tea I’m drinking and I highly recommend this addition as it is very flavorful. Pretending should be a part of everyone’s day as it makes one happy. I often pretend I am somewhere other than where I am but in Paris there is no point to doing that as why would you want to be anywhere else? I learned a lot on this trip. The biggest lesson was to watch how someone behaves without needing them to behave in a certain way. In doing this I learned how happy I am just accepting what others have to give and not wanting more. I could write on and one about this but I think I will let it be. The quality of the gift is enhanced when there is no need in the receiver.
Wow! Am I glad I bought this book on my new Kindle as it is the perfect book to have with you on a trip to Paris. The Kindle is also a great thing to travel with. I never thought I would break down and get one but as a traveler who likes to have a few books in her suitcase I find the Kindle amazing. I “brought” five books with me on this trip , have finished two , and will return with all five! Usually I feel happy to toss away the ones I read along the way to friends and then miss them once I am home. My daughter said she wouldn’t want a Kindle as she likes to underline in the books she reads but there is a feature for that in the Kindle. Anyway, back to David’s book. I have no idea how I found this book but I am very glad I did. I have savored reading it as one savours a delicious chocolate mousse or a light and frothy cheese souffle. It is a delight to the eyes as well as to the taste buds. Interspersed between reflections on life in Paris and the customs of the French are amazing recipes that make your mouth water. I read the book all through the night last night and had to raid the mini bar at three in the morning from hunger pangs.What I really loved about the book were the suggested behaviors to those traveling in France. The best tip to me was the importance of greeting a shop person immediately upon entering a store in France. One tends not to do this out of an awkwardness with speaking French but once you master this art your experience in the shop becomes a very different one.I put this behavior to the test yesterday and was rewarded immediately with a happy understanding between the shop keeper and myself. A recognition we were both from the same correct and respectful place. I was sorry to finish up the last few pages this morning but happy to know it is available to me at the touch of the Kindle awake switch! That’s it for now from a happy woman in Paris.
I used to write a column when I worked in a business school that was called “Remember to Breathe”. Every Friday when the paper came out it was a lot of fun to walk around the school and see people reading my column and smiling. I think they smiled as I wrote about my personal life much as I do here. This was unusual in a business school weekly particularly when I wrote about love, anger and pain, which I still write about. Some things are a constant in the world and these emotions will always be with us. I hope they will always be with us as imagine what life would be like if they were not. I don’t have a lot of faith in people who do not experience these emotions as they seem almost lobotomized. The portion of their limbic system which deals with emotion has withered and died. Functioning is never a problem but reaching a high and dipping down into a low certainly is. Lately I have been recognizing how many of us share this emotional dipping yet fear having others discover this trait. Shame is common among us emotional dippers as we view others in the world as being separate from us.
I am working on a small solution for those of us who would like more comfort in life. Some years back I thought about communal living and couldn’t work out what felt right to me. Recently I have conceived of the perfect village for cozy living with compatible people. I think it would work really well to find a group of people, all ages, all ethnicities, and buy some land. Each family or single person could have a small house and there would be a large common space for gathering together. One could either chose to eat alone or with other friends in the common space. There would be shared facilities and a feeling of community. wouldn’t this be a great way to live?
Even in Paris I can be lonely. Even if you are with someone you love. Even if you are staying in the most romantic hotel with the most romantic man, you can still be looking at the rooftops in the moonlight and feel that feeling in your heart which says you are sad. If only a bit, you are still sad. if you look at why and have no answer , perhaps it is because you prefer the sadness as it is so familiar. It is like the perfect old cashmere sweater which you take out on the nights you know you will need the safety of familiar softness. Paris makes me want to open myself to every creative thought I have ever experienced. The city is so filled with wonder and beauty. There is an excitement in the air but also a sense of safety in the history of it all. I feel here as if the world understands pain which is why the expression “L’heure bleu” originated here. That hour between the sun falling into the sky and the evening beginning to spread out before you is the dark hour to some of us,In the darkness of the evening which is never as dark as other cities, one feels almost happy to be abandoned as only in this abandonment can one feel the possibility of true knowledge. That is the goal, after all. I am grateful to be in Paris and to have been given this trip as I was losing hope for the world. I have found it in seeing the whimsy around me and feel now as if I can return to my life with more patience.