I've started this post four or five times now.
Each time I struggled with what I wanted to say. Having written professionally, I am keenly aware of good and bad writing and cheap sentiment, and all I could produce was mediocre sentences and, I'm sorry to say, cheap sentiment.
What I tried to say is this: It's April and for two of the past three Aprils, I've been packing and planning for Paris. I'm not doing that this year.
But I've felt this intense longing lately, almost a physical pull. Yes, it is a physical pull, because Paris is like a lover whose scent and touch and breath you miss, you ache for.
I love spring. Once we landed in Paris on a perfect April day, arriving at our hotel in the early afternoon. After a shower and a nap, we took off to explore our neighborhood in the Latin Quarter.
It was a Thursday, and it was balmy and breezy and possessed all the qualities of spring days when the weekend is just ahead.
The daffodils and chestnuts were in high bloom and the air was scented with a mix of scents: flowers, exhaust, bread and that dank, musty smell that emanates from basement windows and vents. Paris: Elegant, sensual, gritty.
The phrase (and movie title) "unbearable lightness of being" somehow described our feelings as we walked the streets in search of just the right café. Businesspeople, students, au pairs with their charges - everyone seemed to be in the same mood.
If you haven't been to Paris, please go. You can do it on the cheap, even with the dollar nearly worthless. Paris is everything it - no, she! - is reputed to be and more. Find your own Paris, even if you discover it only once.