This time in Paris has been exquisite. I’ve been very quiet, keeping to myself and following the rhythms of my body. That might have been my truest desire this trip—learning to listen to my body. To rest, to walk, to eat, to go to bed, to watch tv, to read, to make tea—or coffee, a real luxury for me!—to work on photos or the novel… These I just let myself choose and do on whims. Too often, I push too hard through life, as I think many of us do (particularly us Americans). I make too many plans and appointments, not leaving enough emptiness. It hasn’t been the trip I planned even two months ago when the urge compelled, but it’s been the vacation I needed.
A visit to Versailles was one of the whims, and I’m sure to return before I depart this coming week. Walking through the gardens, I found myself almost always alone. It’s a magical feeling, moving through the bosquets or the Trianon without another soul in sight. This is the surreal pleasure to be found on cold, windy, wet mornings. Equally surreal is the effect of the sculptures and fountains without the colorful framing of a garden in full bloom. The color of the stone and the glitter of gilded figures seems impossible, a trick of the eye, the product of desire rather than of reality. I had forgotten this, having only ever photographed Versailles in black-and-white. Now I look increasingly at the color around me. The result is a new world.
I plan some small excursions today, then maybe something larger tomorrow. I might visit my favorite cheese shop this morning; I might do a little shopping in the afternoon. It all depends. Perhaps I’ll spend all day stretching out my sore legs on the couch and exploring colorful photographs. Again, it’s okay to just rest. And thankfully—so thankfully I could burst into tears—I have a large chunk of the summer back in Paris. Fifteen days is just a “gouter,” not a full “repas.”
What are your plans this weekend?