During our two short weeks in Paris, I was overwhelmed many times with a sense of good fortune.
As we toured Musee D’Orsay gazing at what surely must be the world’s most breath-taking collection of Art Nouveau furnishings or staring dreamily at a Monet or a Sisley or a Pisarro; as we sunned ourselves in the garden on the former site of Les Halles; as we walked along the Seine in the rain; and as we gazed up at the Eiffel Tower every day, I felt so incredibly lucky to be alive and in Paris.
On a previous trip to Paris, we made an obligatory stop at the Eiffel Tower, not expecting to be dazzled. This time we allowed ourselves to be unabashedly enchanted by the ironwork behemoth. On warm nights we would head over about 9:30 and settle down on a bench in a raised clearing just above the lagoon on the north side of the tower. The area is private and sheltered and when you breathe deeply you inhale the bosky aroma of the nearby gardens.
We’d wait and watch and gasp at 10 p.m. when the lights came on. The crowd gasped too and cheered or applauded and it was like fireworks on July 4.
It is Paris, the lady of many layers, flirting boldly with her admirers. Even the most world-weary traveler must surely turn into an bedazzled child when the tower flashes her lights.
I felt so lucky, even though I knew I'd made my own luck by stashing away every penny of my teaching earnings to make the trip. Still, I was blessed to have the opportunity.
To realize your good fortune is a heady feeling, as thrilling as the first sip of a new and complex wine or a meal al fresco on a balmy summer night.
And happiness, I am convinced, brings more happiness. Luck, I am certain, begets more luck.