In two weeks I’ll be in Paris. Seems so far away. In appropriately nostalgic fashion, I’ve culled something from the travelogue, five years ago today:
16 March, 2004, Paris, France (Jardin de Luxembourg)
A fabulous spring day! The first really warm (close to 20 degrees C) one yet. Bailed on the library and wandered the city, walking south from Gare du Nord, along Magenta and then Sevastapol. Stopped in a little church, got a little lost, then finally past the Archives Nationale and across the river to sit a few moments in the crowded square in front of Notre-Dame. Up Rue Dante and St. Jacques to the Sorbonne. Went into Vrin and picked up a book by A. A. Cournot. Then over to the Jardin. Sitting in the very warm sun, soaking it up gladly. City is alive and energized, parks and streets are full of people — was doubtless a longish winter for the Parisians.
Almost hope it’s not this nice tomorrow, since I really must return to the library. A truly welcome respite today…Thinking about going to “La Defense” but I don’t even feel like moving! Realized yesterday that my thesis is taking shape in all the trauma and chaos of the past few weeks — it’s about history, of course. In a sense, the history of medicine and biology is a kind of vitalism. There is also the story of the fate of the soul, as it retreats from the body and settles into the nooks and crannies of psychology and the unconscious mind. Describing this process through a narrative will be challenging. Hopefully the result will be worth the effort!?
…Taking a little more sun on Rue du Four at the “Hot” cafe — the symbolism is just wonderful! Can’t seem to get enough after a very long Canadian winter. Upon reflection, this city is really and truly beautiful — the whole place is full of art, sculpture and stylish people. Like some grand collective aesthetic act. Me, I’m just a big, scruffy lumberjack, somewhat lacking in style and grace. No wonder they’re not too crazy about the “ugly” American!
…Went into St. Germain des Pres, the oldest church in Paris, before heading home. Humble compared to Amiens and the like but unbelievably beautiful — amazing stained glass. Wooden sculpture of St. Germain de Paris in corner chapel had a wonderful feel — a human figure deeply evocative of humility and lean fragility. Interesting.
I suppose you can see why I can’t wait to return…