Saturday, December 26, 2009

Meilleurs Voeux

Joyeux Noel, Bonne Annee, Happy Holidays to all and best wishes for 2010! 

When I dust off the snow, I'll be back with my Top Ten Things I Can't Shake from Paris.

I promise.

A bientot!

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.

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