Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Trick AND Treat

"You can't put your feet on the ground until you've touched the sky"
       -Paul Auster

It's Halloween, Samhain, Day of the Dead...the time of transitions.  Traditionally the thin place in the fabric of the Celtic World where beings could slip more easily through portals. You can use Samhain to take the thirteenth step:  Transformation.  What is ending for you?  What is beginning?  To quote Mary Oliver:  "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"

THE CROSSING XIII - TAROT DE PARIS deck created by J. Phillip Thomas
Thomas's Angel model - Petit Palais

Today I took my one wild and precious life to Notre Dame, the Pantheon, to Les Jardins des Plantes, to I'sle Saint-Louis, to the Medici Fountain,..  I was looking for costumes & masks, a Rio Carnivale, some Cirque de Soleil action--I would have settled for a witch or a ghost, but all I saw was an American jeune fille with a set of mouse ears at the Monoprix.  But it got better, here's what I saw instead:

Lovers - Medici Fountain
Lovers - Jardin du Luxembourg
Man loving his book - Medici Fountain
 “Each time he took a walk, he felt as though he were leaving himself behind, and by giving himself up to the movement of the streets, by reducing himself to a seeing eye, he was able to escape the obligation to think, and this, more than anything else, brought him a measure of peace, a salutary emptiness within...By wandering aimlessly, all places became equal and it no longer mattered where he was. On his best walks he was able to feel that he was nowhere. And this, finally was all he ever asked of things: to be nowhere.”
Paul Auster, City of Glass

Cosmos - Jardin Des Plantes

Nature as Teacher - Jardin des Plantes

Foraging Dinosaur - Jardin des Plantes

"Every life is inexplicable I kept telling myself. No matter how many facts are told, no matter how many details are given, the essential thing resists telling. To say that so and so was born here and went there, that he did this and did that, that he married this woman and had these children, that he lived, that he died, that he left behind these books or this battle or that bridge – none of that tells us very much.”
Paul Auster, The New York Trilogy

L'Isle Saint-Louis Living Statue
He won't budge  
He bent us to his will

“Deep down, I don’t believe it takes any special talent for a person to lift himself off the ground and hover in the air. We all have it in us—every man, woman, and child—and with enough hard work and concentration, every human being is capable of…the feat….You must learn to stop being yourself. That’s where it begins, and everything else follows from that. You must let yourself evaporate. Let your muscles go limp, breathe until you feel your soul pouring out of you, and then shut your eyes. That’s how it’s done. The emptiness inside your body grows lighter than the air around you. Little by little, you begin to weigh less than nothing. You shut your eyes; you spread your arms; you let yourself evaporate. And then, little by little, you lift yourself off the ground.
Like so.”
Paul Auster, Mr. Vertigo
Light as Air
Notre Dame

A couple of years ago I was standing in front of Notre Dame and a guy walked up to me and spit in my face! I remembered something the poet Rimbaud said (well I didn't really remember, I had to look it up--the pig stuck in my mind):

"I became a fabulous opera: I saw that everyone in the world was doomed to happiness. Action isn't life: it's merely a way of ruining a kind of strength, a means of destroying nerves. Morality is water on the brain.
It seemed to me that everyone should have had several other lives as well. This gentleman doesn't know what he's doing: he's an angel. That family is a litter of puppy dogs. With some men, I often talked out loud with a moment from one of their other lives. - That's how I happened to love a pig."

Halloween Pigs

Ensuite:  more about "LOVE"

Thomas & Rose
Rusty Lock
Indelible Smooch
The "love padlocks" have been a phenomenon all over the world from Belgium to Japan. In Rome the ritual of affixing love padlocks to the bridge Ponte Milvio is attributed to the writer Frederico Moccia from his book, " I Want You".  For those of you who haven't heard of them, here's the story:  A couple writes their names on a padlock and locks it onto one of the bridges. Then they throw the key into the Seine as a symbol of their undying love. Some say the only way to break the seal of love brought on by this love lock act is to find the key and unlock the padlock. Of course, that is nearly impossible, since the keys lie at the bottom of the river. This reality induces many brokenhearted individuals to return with bolt cutters to try to chop off the padlocks. So, on second thought, maybe it wasn’t the government after all that was accused of cutting the locks from the Pont des Arts a few years ago!

Pont de L'Archeveche
As you have undoubtedly figured out by now, I'm rather besotted with Paul Auster. He's caught me psychically redhanded & after my longwinded day of traipsing around the city in which I never did figure out how to "lift off", I ended up at the Zig Zag Cafe across from the Pantheon with its unremtting stone, Foucault's :Pendelum, all the grand souls interred there:  Malraux, Hugo, Moulin, the Curies, on and on--I felt crushed by the weight of so many heroic figures. There was some amazing 1952 footage of Braille's crypt being carried to the Pantheon, 6 or 7 blind souls reaching out to touch the stone decoration at the top of the crypt.  The Pantheon has always seemed to me to be one of those iconic places like Mt. don't really enter it, you just gaze into it.
 Spiral Staircase - The Pantheon

At the Zig Zag, I finished the first part of Auster's "The Invention of Solitude" while slowly sipping the Cafe Calypso which cost me my entire day's food budget of $10 euros, but it was worth it--the mingling of rum, amaretto, coffee, creme faiche with tears of pain & joy as I read the last page of "Invisible Man"...Anyhoo the three food groups were amply covered:: alcohol, dairy and caffeine.

Zig Zag Cafe
Cafe des Artistes - Angouleme

Cafe Calypso

Tomorrow I am going to be a good girl and make "Soul Cakes" for  Toussaint and All Soul's Day.  I'll be happy to give you the recipe if you are in the market for some redemption and a "get out of purgatory" card!

Here's the song that goes with the soul cakes:

From, ‘Shropshire: Bye-Gones Relating to Wales & the Border Country’ (1889-1890)

Soul Cakes
“Soul soul for a souling cake                          
I pray you, missis, for a souling cake
Apple or pear, plum or cherry
Anything to make us merry …”

Sung on "All Soul's Day" by soulers

“I had jumped off the edge, and then, at the very last moment, something reached out and caught me in midair. That something is what I define as love. It is the one thing that can stop a man from falling, powerful enough to negate the laws of gravity.”
Paul Auster, Moon Palace

Let Yourself Fall - Lovers, Medici Fountain

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