Before Fall slips away into Winter (or becomes entirely overshadowed by the tragic events of late), I wanted to remember and share how extraordinary it was this year, how the city was flooded with warm light and leafy golden pathways, how every turn was a reminder of how marvelous Paris in the Fall looks when we pause to take it all in.
"...the light can be impossibly bright and blindingly beautiful when we turn towards it.
I hope we’ll collectively turn to the light" - Photographer David du Chemin
There are no simple words to describe the terror of last Friday's attacks in and around Paris, the violence, the horror, the grief and sadness that now cloaks the city, its country and the world... how can it be summed up when there are too many words of anger and too much sorrow.
Though shocked and deeply horrified, as bullets and grenades went off across the river Seine, thankfully my family was safely inside our home. The following morning we heard from neighbors and friends whose boyfriend or teacher or friend was at the stadium, concert hall or restaurant, making us feel not so removed after all... and with France in a State of Emergency, the school outings planned for my boys have been cancelled for a while and stricter security measures are in place all around the city and throughout the country.
What's most unsettling and disheartening really is knowing that above all this turmoil and intolerance and fear, we are all one humanity, all of us made up of flesh and bone and a beating heart. One humanity with a myriad of skin colors and languages and landscapes that can, if we try, live peacefully on our one planet. If I have learned one thing living in France these past 20 months, it is that because of our differences, we gain connection and understanding and become one community under the umbrella of one humanity.
Last weekend a friend described a television program they saw about a group of artists promoting love as the answer to war, and my friend questioned if indeed the answer was this simple. Of course not! It is much too complicated, overly entangled in ideology and politics and on and on... I don't know the answer, but history tells us more fighting is clearly not.
I just wish we didn't live in a world where our children risk dying on any given day from being outside having dinner or enjoying a music or sports event; where they have to witness the unspeakable horrors man can inflict on one another, followed by war and then repeated.
Could we somehow learn to live in the manner in which we respond when violence touches one of our communities - with compassion and an open heart. But just as I write that it reverberates with simplistic idealism... as do all wild and hopeful imaginings. Alas why not try...
"I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.” - Martin Luther King Jr.
* Thank you so very much friends for reaching out to express your concern for me and my family - xo