Better To Be In The Middle Of It All Than To Be An Observer From Afar
September 13, 2016
I’m often asked if I am afraid of what might happen when I travel to Europe, especially Paris. My answer remains, “Not at all.” I remember thinking back on November 13, 2015, as the reports of the terror events unfolded on CNN, I wanted to get on a plane to Paris immediately. I wanted to be there in the middle of it all. What good can I do as an observer from afar? I find it too frustrating to sit and do nothing.
I love the feel of Paris. The history of the places I love like the Sorbonne, Montmartre and The Marais, bring a feeling of peace and contentment I can find no-where else. The Adirondack Mountains bring a different sense of peace for me that is restful and restorative. Paris brings me inspiration and a wildness of heart, which makes me want to go back again and again.
My traveling companion, Sue, has a different take on continuing to travel with me. When we see the many uniformed men and women carrying massive Uzis our reactions are very different. Sue tends to get creeped out by it, while I think it’s wonderful. I’d rather have that than no protection at all. It gives me a sense of the city being aware of what is going on and doing the best they can to deal with it. For me, the more Uzis the better.
The energy and excitement of the creative souls throughout the ages in Paris resides there still. I feel it. I am moved by it. While here in the US beautiful older buildings are torn down to make way for one more office building, in Paris and Europe in general, many of these ancient places are beloved and cared for. I feel beloved and cared for there as well.
In the Artist’s Way, written by Julia Cameron, she speaks of many of us who showed signs of being very creative when young, were given the message to ignore that part of us. “That and $5.00 will get you a cup of coffee”, would be the response to a plea for painting materials or classes in writing. The censor is the guide within, for me anyway, that sometimes still cautions me to be careful not to write, for vulnerability and fear reside in the place where my writing comes from. In Paris, those thoughts have no meaning to me. Only permission to be me completely resides there.
Bohemian equals freedom for me. I accomplish that here for the most part in Pittsburgh, yet Paris gives it to me completely. Freedom from fear is what Paris means to me, which is quite the opposite of what one would think. When I reside there to write, I steep in the culture and it’s history without fear.
Nothing is going to happen that I can’t handle. Probably, in some way, the worst has already happened to me in one form or another and I did make it. My thoughts while traveling, anywhere, is that if I die, I die. There is nothing I can do about that. If I do survive, I hope to be well enough to help those around me. I can ask for nothing more than that.