"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players."  --William Shakespeare

Entries in spring (2)






Has life become craaaaazy intense for you, too, lately?
Too much to do, not enough time. What to do? Finish one thing at a time.
I head to a favorite café to do some editing. Spirits are high on the streets of Paris tonight. Today was the first warm day of the year. Sky bright blue. First white blossoms on the tree behind l'église Saint-Nicolas-du-Chardonnet, always the first we see to bloom in spring. It seems to have come earlier this year.
On Boulevard Saint-Jacques, nine Spanish girls in short skirts, short shorts with tights, are arranged in a horseshoe shape, bending over, laughing and singing the Macarena. Haven’t seen that dance done since the late ‘90s, in Venice. I can’t pass Blvd. St.-Jacques without thinking of my sister Jane who lived on this street the year she studied at the Sorbonne.


A rare night when I have a whole section of the café to myself; everyone seems to be out celebrating Spring. It’s quiet. Easy to focus. Just me and the resident mouse, who scuttles out to say hello, then retreats to the darkness of the baseboards. I think of Apollo, one of whose names was Mouse.
Fuel: a fantastic cup of hot chocolate, dark, no sugar.
Three solid hours of work before a couple come in and sit right next to me (why!?), with at least 20 other tables vacant around us. They’re slightly drunk, jabbering away in French. I’m baffled by people’s odd sense of space.
But what am I complaining about? So many gifts lately! Two were recycled items, both radically elegant. A delicate, hollow, redwood bowl shaped by a friend of my brother and his wife, a piece out of the bar of a mid-century steakhouse that my brother’s green building company is reshaping into an adaptive reuse, mixed-use community center in Phoenix.


The other, a beautiful deep blue hard-bound edition of Balzac’s Eugénie Grandet in French, from a friend’s parents’ library in Seattle.
Shall we put Marley le Chat’s ashes in the redwood bowl? The opening is small enough that we could balance a marble on top to close it. It looks so handsome on our mantelpiece, now an altar for our beloveds who have died in the three years since we arrived here--Kimo Campbell, Jane Eliot, Uncle Bruce, Marley, Jane Kitchell. They are always with us; still here, still loved.
I begin the Balzac novel. Why is it so much more pleasurable to read this fine leather-bound volume? Is it because once upon a time books were better made? Is it because it’s a gift, and so embodies love?
Gifts, opportunities, responsibilities seem to be multiplying lately, a flood of things that must be attended to immediately.
I cannot possibly address them all in a timely fashion. Feeling full of inspiration and drive, but also exhausted.

Nothing that a week on a Greek beach couldn't cure. 

Can I possibly do all that is challenging and inviting me now?
Somehow I will. I must!







Happy Holi-Days

What a delight today was.

How often do you get to find a new way to celebrate a seasonal holiday? Literally, in this case, a Holi day, which celebration coincided this year in Paris with the Christian Easter.


Thanks to Nona and Popeye, two Indian photographer friends, we were invited over to the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris, a private park that contains dozens of residence halls for students from all over the world, specifically to the dorm building called Maison de l'Inde.


The occasion? The annual celebration of Holi, a Hindu holiday also known as the Festival of Color, celebrating the arrival of colorful spring, after the monochromatic months of winter. It also commemorates various events in Hindu mythology, but mostly it's an excuse to forget barriers of caste and class, and to get down and funky. Celebrants throw fluorescent colored powders, like turmeric, and drench each other with colored water. One's eventual resemblance to an Easter egg is purely coincidental.

In this case, the revelry and silliness the hundred or so participants engaged in was accompanied by ear-splitting Indian rock music, and the kind of freeform sybaritic dancing that recalled the best days of the old Fillmore Auditorium.


If the multinational Paris celebration also looks suspiciously like college spring break, we won't deny it. The colored powders came out at eleven a.m., and the cases of beer came out about eleven-oh-five. We left about three to come home and process photographs and write this post, but the party was just getting started. If you have a Hindu community near you, be sure and make a friend before next year's Festival of Color. And wear old clothes.


We hope you'll excuse us now, we have to go shower--and have the cameras cleaned.