London in the New Year?

by

I met with Corinne tonight and did some of that thing we call doing the deal.

I am about to embark on an inventory, a fact-finding mission, you could say.

I pretty much know what facts I will find, lots of fear, disillusionment, selfishness, pride, goddamn loads of that, self-seeking, inconsiderateness, and mayhap a few other fun things.

Before I delve into that part of the story, let me just say thank you to the weather Gods.

Thank you for a reprieve from the grey, the cold, the rain.

I got an afternoon of sunshine and the most delirious walk about in the Luxembourg Gardens.

Jardin du Luxembourg

Luxembourg Garden

I had a nice morning, a morning that I was able to keep the hob goblins of financial fear away.

Just taking little one two actions.

Make coffee.

Write.

Meditate.

Take out the trash.

Funny how taking out the trash led me to the most glorious of my walks in Paris so far.

I had debated taking a walk in the neighborhood, but the gardens were calling to me.  I waffled as I was getting dressed, two Metro stops and time spent away from my schedule, what schedule?

I only truly had one place to be at today, the American Church at five o’clock.

I could let my “schedule” go.

As I was taking out the garbage, when in doubt of what to do next, do the thing in front of you–take out the trash, a bright burst of sunlight fell on my head through the courtyard and I knew without question that I needed to get to the gardens.

I came back inside, got my batteries out of the wall charger, loaded the camera, grabbed an apple for the road and headed to the Metro.

Two stops later I got out at Saint Suplice.

I was about to walk directly to the gardens, but the cathedral called to me.

I may have had something to do with the carousel in the courtyard, I am a sucker for carousels.

Carousel

Carousel

This carousel in particular drew me in, the sun splashing over it, the children running around it.

Little French children giggling and chasing each other around a 19th Century carousel.

They were all wearing berets.

They were all in striped jerseys.

They were so gleefully French it was impossible to not get swept up in the joyousness of the carousel.

I even contemplated going for a ride, but stopped at just getting a few close up shots of it instead.

Carousel

Carousel

Then, as I was right by the front door to Saint Suplice, I decided I could take a moment before heading to the gardens and go inside.

Saint Suplice

Saint Suplice

 

 

 

 

 

It was absolutely the right thing to do.

The organist was playing, the light from outside pushed through the stained glass windows, there were not many tourists about (the few who were there I avoided.  I felt if I were to not ignore them I would smack them.  No photographs!  NO CELL PHONES!  Really, honestly, take your call outside, it’s a church for Pete’s sake).

I walked around the sacristy and looked at the windows.

I have to say I felt so at home I even, for a moment contemplated converting.

I am not Catholic, but I play one on tv.

My mom was raised Catholic and from the stories it was not the most fun up bringing.  She deigned to baptize me when I was little.  A neighbor found out and I think hounded her until she gave in.

At the ripe old age of eleven I was baptized Lutheran.

Huh?

But my fondest memories of church are going to midnight mass in Lodi, Wisconsin at St. Patrick’s then going to my great grandma and grandpa’s house.

I also am a fan of the Lord’s Prayer.

Yeah, yeah, I know, but it reminds me of my grandparents.

Sitting at the dinner table and praying before a meal.  They always said it.  The words did not mean much to me, but the familiarity, the ritual, the tradition, that did.

I did not exactly have the most stable up bringing, but my grandparents home in Lodi was a fixture.  Despite hard times or maybe because of them, it was always a reprieve to go there.

The same kind of reprieve that I felt at Saint Suplice, Sacre Couer, Notre Dame.

I think of my grandparents.

Especially my grandmother.

I think she would be pleased with me, with my daring, with the leaps I have made–first to California and now to Paris.

The warm sun through the stained glass, the crescendo of music falling from the pipe organ over my head, a huge organ, it must be the largest one I have seen yet, and I was enrapt.

Smothered in faith.

I do not think I will be turning Catholic anytime soon, but it is soothing to be so caught and held, even for just a moment.

I took a deep breath, and may I add here, Saint Suplice is the best smelling church I have been in as well.  Saint Elisabeth gave it a run for its money, but I think that was because I visited during a day when they were cutting fresh roses for the altar.  Saint Suplice smelled old, but not moldy old, dry age-old, smote with incense and light.

It was heady perfume.

I wafted out the door and headed to the gardens.

I walked around the outside periphery.

I let the joggers pass me and closed my eyes and lifted my face to the sun.

That is God for me.

G.reat

O.ut

D.oors

That is all I need.

Cradled again in the lap of Paris.

Paris, you damn tart, just when I think, I don’t know, maybe John Ater was not right and I am not going to want to stay here, you go and throw me a sunny afternoon and I am smote, totally smitten and in love.

So, when Corinne mentioned that one way I may be able to extend my Visa for another three months was to go to London and get stamped there, it is not an EU nation, I thought, ok, I can do that.

Kellie was just here and said I should go.

Then, I get home tonight and whilst eating my salade, I see I have an e-mail from an old friend from San Francisco.

Who I thought was in New York, but is actually in LONDON!

In London at graduate school with her partner, planning a trip to Paris in April.

Ok Universe, I hear you.

I say yes.

London.

January 2013 I shall make my return, it’ll be eight years.

Happy Anniversary indeed!

 

 

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