From the majority of heartache that I have suffered in my life, it has not been because of my attachment to people, but places. When I tell a friend that I am in “love” with Paris, I do not mean that the city is simply a favorite destination of mine. What I mean is that the city as a whole caught my eye, quietly wrapped its firm but gentle hand around mine, led me down a small and winding cobblestone street and held me close...and did not let go until morning.
Places and destinations seduce me. The sites and sounds, the colors and scents, the ever changing shades of light...The seduction goes deep: it re-wires the neuron pathways and settles into the marrow of my bones. Should we ever be separated, the anguish of separation is almost unbearable. I have been known to stay in undesirable situations simply for the love of the locale. Relationships will often take a backseat to a destination.
The first time my heart ever really experienced wrenching heartbreak was when I lost a home. Nestled between soft green hills with grass that flashed silver when the wind swept through it, and large looming purple jagged mountains that stood on my doorstep, that house was a safety zone from whatever life threw my way. Then in what seemed like an instant, it was gone. Ripped away, and handed over to someone else. Someone who would paint over the silver walls of my bedroom, board up my secret attic access (by way of my closet), and tear out my butterfly garden. I remember on evenings with a full moon, the moon would set over the ocean and completely illuminate my bedroom with light.
Paris had been a place of healing for me. It was summer and my then second visit to the city. It was on the 3rd floor, during a hot and muggy summer afternoon that I finally came to terms of what had been a rather traumatic previous year. It was in that room that I realized I was indeed half way around the world, far away from anyone who knew me, my past, or my dreams. Not even I knew my dreams. Paris did what I couldn’t do: it embraced me, built a tender cage about my heart and preserved it.
I have watched the skies of Paris glow at 9:45pm with lingering summer light, and I have watched its skies gently wake with the break of dawn. I have seen the “unseen” moments of a woman who thought no one was watching her on the metro. I have heard the first engine in the city start, and I have smelled the sweet scent of the first pain du jour. I have also seen heartache. I have shivered from the bitter, wet Paris cold that feels like it will make off with your fingers if you do not hold on to them. But still, the city holds me close. It envelopes me like a hen does her children and nestles me close to its breast. A lover who seduces me with every taste, sound and sight.
|She may have lost her head, but she still intends to fly|
All photography mine