The world seems smaller now that I?ve seen Paris. When I drive home from my three-room lakehouse in Spence County, past grass growing brown in autumn air and little brick churches nobody will ever hear about, it feels small and insignificant, but also real and whole and here. Paris is no longer a far-off fantasyland. The Eiffel Tower is every bit as real as the tree in my front yard, and Notre Dame as real as the little brick church up the hill. Maybe, though, I should say that the tree is as real as the tower, the church as the cathedral. They are equals now, my life and this former fantasyland. I have walked the streets of Paris and little Crestview Road. Who can say that one is more real, or more important, or beautiful than the other? I?ve shared streets with royalty and a city with artists and lovers, but who can say their lives are a level above mine? I imagined my life would be lifted up, and I would feel my face illuminated by the glory. Paris did show me where the light is, but not in the way I expected. The light, I learned, is not in romantic scenes and distant cities, but right here, in my own little anyplace.
How Paris Showed Me Where the Light Is
February 18, 2009