Sometimes to find new oceans one must lose sight of the shore – Gide
It must be a Musing Monday for me to even venture this question and “Magic” was the answer when I asked at my favourite hat and jewellery shop, owned by women who are delightfully chic and encourage me in my Parisian adventures.
Paris is magic. I live by my senses there as I do nowhere else. I am happy in Paris as nowhere else. Moments are memories sinking deep beneath my skin. I sit and drink it all in with a smile as wide as Mona Lisa’s. I am satisfied here as nowhere else and satisfied is a magical place to be.
Soft warm sun; a colour palette that delights; simple foods filling me with respect and awe. A language of struggle but I find help along the way; gentle encounters are everywhere and the crazy encounters delight and linger. I never feel lonely in Paris; the space between things holds me as if the beauty stretches, as if beauty holds of us together. Beauty is the misty air, the blue of the door, the flow of the Seine. The curve of the cobble, the spread of the butter, the crack of the bread. In Paris I drink the in-between. In Paris I am nourished as nowhere else. I live simply, being simply me.
You ask me why I dwell in the green mountains / I smile and make no reply for my heart is free of care / as the peach blossom flows downstream and is gone into the unknown.
Conversation in the mountain by Li Bai (AD 701-762): Poem spotted in the National Gallery of Victoria.
Photos of my version of dwelling in the Australian green, taken while lingering in the grass in Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne looking up and looking along; at Narara Ecovillage, Central Coast NSW and an Impressionist favourite from the Art Gallery of NSW.
extract from “Monet refuses the operation” by Lisa Mueller; the lilies of Giverny; lamps in London.
Doctor, you say, there are no haloes / around the streetlights in Paris
and what I see is an aberration /caused by old age, an affliction.
I tell you it has taken me all my life / to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels,
to soften and blur and finally banish / the edges you regret I don’t see,
to learn that the line I called the horizon / does not exist and sky and water,
I will not return to a universe / of objects that don’t know each other,
as if islands were not the lost children / of one great continent.
The world is flux, and light becomes what it touches, / becomes water, lilies on water,
above and below water / becomes lilac and mauve and yellow …
There is a theme emerging – travel, wandering, musing, poems – scattered thoughts and images – best summed up as luggage and overflowing baggage. And I am reminded of Journeys of Simplicity, a (very) charming book by Philip Harnden, noting the packing lists of different travellers on their journeys e.g. John Muir, a Civil War activist, on his thousand mile walk to the Gulf in the late 1800s, packed lightly. I am not known for this!
In a rubberized bag
comb / brush / towel / soap
change of undercothing / copy of Burn’s poems
Milton’s paradise Lost / Wood’s Botany / small New Testament
journal / map / a plant press
Now that is light – though I wonder if he should have packed a copy of ‘When there is no doctor, or dentist’! He travels light but not as light as those among us who wish to live like a leaf on the water. Philip says that, only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness. I may need to ditch upwards of 20 kilos from my bag.