Tomorrow is our last day in Paris and our 16th anniversary. Yes! I am ready to move on, see our friends, experience new places. No! I tear up thinking about leaving behind this wondrous, complex city.
I sit alone in Jardin du Luxembourg on a park bench. I hear the crack of bocci balls, the coo of pigeons, the rush of joggers on the dirt path, a couple nearby just talking quietly.
Paris has invested in itself for centuries. It is a city of longevity, beauty, art, culture, commerce. The architecture, the parks, the city planning, the museums – I think to myself, we sure don’t built ’em like we used to.
The age of austerity we live in is short-sighted, funneling billions of dollars, euros and yen to the fortunate few. Ever fewer can visit and live in the places built and from collective greatness and ambition.
In America, what we eat, how we build, who we teach, where we cut are symptoms of a myopic culture that refuses to invest in ourselves as individuals and collectively as a nation. Why we do not invest – where there is no political will – to invest in infrastructure, education, science, all that which feeds a prosperous future is beyond belief and beyond reproach.
Paris is imperfect, America is still home. But still, the American political and socio-economic climate is disturbing, narrow and self-defeating.
Enough! I smile those thoughts away. The sun catches the upper branches of the trees surrounding the marble sculptures encased in pink and purple flora.
Blessed are those who can experience beauty, culture, art and nature. Blessed am I for my time in Paris. My notebook slips back in to my pack. I walk west and then north on Rue D’Assas away from the Jardin.