When you consider it, closely, with fresh eyes, on a bridge in Paris one evening, the ability to forecast the weather is a remarkable gift. I mean, not how one does it now, with computer models and Doppler radar, but before, when men, and women I suppose, could just look at the sky or the sea, and say:
It feels like rain.
Or snow, or wind, or whatever is coming over the horizon towards you but is of yet unseen. Once upon a time, I suppose, if you could do that, and be right more than wrong, you were powerful, dominant, the talk of the town, or village, or valley, or wherever you happened to be.
I stopped on the bridge over the River Seine, on the way to meet a friend for coffee, I stopped not because the view was new to me or especially unique for Paris, no, I stopped there because the sky was darker than it should have been if one considers the time of day it was, early.
I also stopped because not only was the sky darker than I thought realistic really for four in the afternoon, but the despair of the sky itself stopped me, the torment it was enduring and sharing with anyone who thought to stop and look.
The sky was frothing in anger, churning a multitude of shades of black, twisting, turning, spinning, seemingly out of control and liable to collapse at any moment into a fit of rain, thunder, lightning. Hail was not out of the question.
And yet, in the middle of all that torment, the sky also wanted to share the thought, hold on, there is hope my fellow traveler, it will not always be this dark, this twisted this way, let me show you, look over there to the South, the perfect bright white light, it is coming your way.
Pause if you must a moment to admire and ponder but keep walking as soon the light will be here and all will be calm again.
My half-brother Stuart told me of an old quote, “a life unexamined isn’t worth living” he wasn’t sure who it was from but we both liked it. It seemed to be the right motto for my journey.
But what they don’t tell you is the process of examining stirs up storms, in you and others. I should note, as I like to, to make sure no one feels sorry for me, crossing the bridge in Paris in the afternoon, I find that highly unlikely, but just in case, this is something I have chosen and I am blessed to do it.
Nevertheless, Paris turned into not so much into calm moments of reflection and getting deeply re-introduced to the book and the characters within, but a time to walk headfirst into storms on top of storms, wind blowing, rain in my face, cold, dark, lonely.
I ended up having far too many legal letters, far too many lawyer calls, tossing and turning worrying about my children and life, and my ex-wife. For three or four days, I didn’t really sleep at all, removing much of the charm of the City of Lights. I would lie in bed, playing positive outcomes to all that was running through my mind, hoping for sleep and peace.
It rarely came.
Mercifully, there is a wonderful yoga studio in Paris, owned by two new found friends. I met a wonderful young American woman living in Paris with her French boyfriend. I had friends visit both weekends and that made it bearable, but barely so.
Which is a shame, after all, it is Paris, but then again, the chance to examine, make right, clean up, ponder, walk, wonder, is a remarkable one. So now, tired, worn out, drained again by life and challenges seen and unseen, unsure whether it will clear, or continue to storm, I am leaving again for Burma.
I will keep moving, walking, I will look and love the storms and their colors and their anger, almost as much as I will love the light when the wind blows it my way.