Windows to Blue
Night has fallen here in Paris. I walk across an old wooden floor, open the window and look out at the Eiffel tower. Blue with light. It shines cobalt blue. And now it sparkles, hundreds of white lights that look like stars blinking. On and off. The whole galaxy here outside my window, it seems.
To travel is to go nowhere. It's just like being anywhere else, says my Little one. Yet it is also to go a world apart. At times, it feels nothing is familiar. Simple things like faucets, locks, subways suddenly become adventures in living.
I notice things like... many people here wear scarves, and they tie them in a unique looping fashion. Even the old homeless man who emerges from the metro... he wears a scarf, blue like the sky. And on Sunday afternoons, people here walk with a liquid smoothness.
The children have lilting voices, Mama! they cry. Children with cropped hair, confident eyes, strong simple clothes in plain dark colors. And I... I feel like a child... my language eclipsed... sure, I can speak to get by, but my writer self is put aside and instead my eyes and ears are tuned to sights and sounds, while I stay mostly silent.
Silent, mostly, except for a lot of Merci! and S'il vous plait. Thank you, please. Gratitude expressed, mercy asked. Please and please and thank you. In a way, to travel is to go nowhere. But in a way, it is to get outside oneself, to fall out of one's little window, to go a world apart, to come back to simple please and thank you. Gratitude and mercy, language universal.