Parks. I never really understood them until I came to Paris.
I always thought sure, they are really beautiful, but how can anyone just sit there for hours at a time. They have parks all over Paris. The first one I took time to walk through was Jardin de Reuilly and it was beautiful between the stone steps, flowers and basin of grassland under wood and iron bridge. That was all I did, I walked thought it, thought, “This is nice” and then left. I only saw a park. I didn’t experience it. The next time I visited I sat, wrote a little in my journal, took a nap on a bench. It was nice but I still felt impatient there. I would look around and there would be people having lunch, reading books, playing with children and having picnics. I wanted to figure out what made them so calm, so at peace in this place.
I left walking down the main street I always do and stopped after hearing a noise above me. Is there something up there?? People are up there. I quickly found a staircase, climbing the steps as curiosity climbed. When I reached the top I was in another park, but this one was well hidden in plain site. I was walking through a strip of trees, flowers, ponds, benches, and little bridge. Couples strolled hand in hand as children skipped along in joy in front of their parents and as business people and craftsmen leaving work to head home. It stretched on and on. Before I knew it, I had walked three miles on this magical strip. I saw magical because it took you out of the sights and sounds of this city as you walked through. I felt as if I had been teleported.
One day I was tired after walking in my derieve and decided to enter another park. I took off my coat to create a blanket and set my purse behind my head. In this grassy knoll, I sat and stared at the stunning blue sky above me and let the sun kiss my skin. The breeze shifted the tree leaves and created a soothing lullaby in which I easily dosed off.
I don’t know how long I was sleeping for but I woke up hearing the soft sounds of children playing. I made silly faces a couple who came close to me and they started to run back and forth between their parents and I. Not long after I played catch and rolled around with the two little boys of about 2 and the older girl 7 or 8 for over an hour. A french gentlemen had walked over to me and asked me to babysit for him even after he realized I was just visiting. I kindly declined of course. It was wondering to spend time with them and play and not to see people glued to their phones or kids to electronics. They are very easy with just being.
Not only are the parks wonderful to enjoy by yourself, but it is wonderful to cherish them with people as well. Picnics were one of my favorite things do with others there, literally eating and being merry. It is easy laughter and joy without thinking about what you have to do that day, or where you need to be, it is simply existing in the now.
Maybe its all the extra oxygen from all the plants…….
Either way, I was just sitting at lunch with Jessy before class and we sat there in silence for a moment taking everything in and being apart of everything that was happening or not really happening around us. That was the moment when I got it. All of my experience I was having in parks hit me. I get it now. I hope that you can enjoy your place in them too. Its okay if it doesn’t happen the first, second or fifth time, but you will. Each park has its own personality and flow and I believe there is one for everyone.
I love parks.