Monday, December 14, 2009

When You Wish Upon a Star

On this day four years ago, I was having a hard time making sense of what I would do next in my life.  I had successfully finished the important project I'd been managing, so my job was sadly ending. The sale of our family house of 15 years was looming. My kids were away at school, and I didn't know where I was going to live next or what I was going to do when I got there.  A relationship had imploded.  All I could see metaphorically were a lot of doors closing, slamming, or gently clicking shut.

Quite honestly, 2005 had been a personal annis horibilis to beat the band. (And, trust me, some of the others had been doozies.)

December 14, 2005.  I rattled around in the quirky lovable shingled Victorian cottage by the sea, a place where I'd been living for months while I readied my own house for  sale.  I had planned to buy this charming vintage cottage;  it was a house that I had instantly fallen in love with, to the point of envisioning it filled with grandchildren in a few decades, a home to come home to.  However, I'd recently gotten word that the deal to purchase the house wouldn't work.  I was crushed.  Drained.  A zombie.

That evening I sank into the sofa, surrounded by darkness, staring into the orange flames of the wood-fire in the immense stone fireplace, contemplating nothing and everything.

Outside, the ink-blue night was still, dark, and clear.  Eventually I climbed the creaking stairs and crawled under my down comforter, ready to be lulled to sleep by the distant sound of waves washing over Singing Beach.

I awoke a few hours later with a brilliant full moon shining through the window to the right.  It was gazing straight at me, the beams falling on my pillow, poking me awake.  I sat bolt upright and rubbed my eyes and took a good look up at the moon.  A perfect orb, incandescent white, glowing high in the blue-black sky. I was spellbound.

Out of the corner of my left eye, through the window that looked out over the ocean, I caught a slight motion.  A small speck of light had just fallen down over the Atlantic.  Did I just see a satellite fall to the sea? A plane crash? I jumped out of bed and ran to the window.  In that dark glassy sky, I saw another chip of light, sizzling like a spent firecracker down toward the horizon.

Shooting stars!

I was awestruck.  A full moon beckoning in the south window, a meteor shower in the east window.  Surely this had to be a sign!  Well, okay, at least an inspiration.  I watched the extravaganza for about a half hour, rapt. As that long unhappy year was drawing to a close, I finally was looking outward, beyond my own house, to elements bigger, brighter, higher.

I finally settled back to sleep with a smile, refreshed and peaceful.

And in the morning when I got up to fix my coffee, for once I didn't ruminate about my gloomy present or past. They seemed not to exist.  I simply knew what my next step was, and that was to go to Paris.

Three months later, there I was, living in Paris.  Invariably, people would ask, "What brought you to Paris?"

I couldn't exactly say, "It was a full moon and a falling star," now, could I?

Most often I would quip, "I think it was a 747, ha-ha."

But in some ways it was the moon and the stars, and a lifelong desire. 

Sometimes looking out the window is all it takes.


photo credit: Examiner.com

24 comments:

Starman said...

What a lucky awakening.

GoingLikeSixty.com said...

What an awesome story about how you got to Paris.
Did your life change you or did you change your life? I've never detected any bitterness at all, and it sounds like you had plenty of reasons.

Diane H said...

Beautifully written, thank you!

Mo said...

Thanks for lifting my spirits, what a great story. It's the Polly-Vous Francais fairytale...and she lives happily ever after!

Anne said...

Oh, Polly! No wonder you led a star-struck life in Paris. Such a beautiful story. I must rotate my bed so I can see out the window...

All good wishes!!

pdxknitterati/MicheleLB said...

You have such a nice way with a story. Thanks for sharing it!

Ken Devine said...

That was brilliant! So well written and more besides.

aneyefordetail said...

I soak up (and file away....)all the stories I hear of how someone "arrived" in Paris...and this is indeed unique! Thanks!

arabesque said...

inspiring story! one that leaves me smiling after reading it...now, if only i could find this full moon and meteor showers tonight...^0^
i'm still hoping for my lifelong dream to land in Paris one way or another. ^0^

Polly-Vous Francais said...

Thanks, everyone, for all the kind remarks!

I've been asked so many times what brought me to Paris. This moment was the catalyst, and the rest of my francophile life (chronicled on this here blog!) explains much of the earlier background.

But it's true that when I think of anniversary moments and France, the night of December 14/15 is a biggie.

Zhu said...

That's a super cute story!

It's weird the way the world sometimes seems to be against us and then, suddenly, there is hope again.

Polly-Vous Francais said...

Zhu,

So true! And sometimes all it takes is a little nudge to look out the proverbial window to find the hope or to recognize what's possible.

Who is Mary Blake? said...

So beautiful. I loved it. It's nice when the moon is there for you and the shooting stars make wishes come true.

Karin (an alien parisienne) said...

What a gorgeous story, and so well-told. I've been lurking a little, commenting none, until now, and now I am intrigued to go back into past posts to read the story from 2005 on! :)

I am so glad you had your awakening. I know very much what the experience is like, and mine brought me to Paris, too. Huh. It was not long after 2005 for my wake up, too. Maybe it was something about the planetary alignments back then, lol. ;-)

Andrew said...

An uplifting story. Always worth lifting your head skywards when times are tough - as you say, it makes you realise there's more going on out there than your own issues...

Evelyn said...

2005 must have been an auspicious year inspite of all the bad stuff. That was the year of my first trip to France! Immediately 'hooked' on all things French, I've been back 3 more times since then. I wish you an auspicious 2010!

Dinners & Dreams said...

Beautiful story and blog, Polly. Thank you.

Nisrine

Franglais said...

What a lovely story! To me, it really explains how sometimes, a certain course of action just feels right, how some of our most important decisions are catalyzed by inner awakenings rather than stoic realism. Way to follow - and realize - your dreams!

Betty C. said...

Haven't dropped by for a long time -- love your new header. I'm going to try to be a better blogger and commenter in 2010!

http://franceprofonde.blogspot.com/2009/12/happy-holidays-to-one-and-all.html

Starman said...

Joyeux Noël de Paris.

Patricia said...

Beautiful!!!! Happy Holidays to all!

Polly-Vous Francais said...

Joyeux Noel et Bonne Annee a tous!

Aloysius Horn said...

Took me awhile to get to reading this post, but I'm glad I eventually did. So well told. Best wishes for a happy and productive 2010!

patriciaconovercommunications@gmail.com said...

The Falling Star
Sara Teasdale, 1884 - 1933

I saw a star slide down the sky,
Blinding the north as it went by,
Too burning and too quick to hold,
Too lovely to be bought or sold,
Good only to make wishes on
And then forever to be gone.

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