The first bridge I set foot on in Paris, was the charming Pont des Arts. It’s the least elaborate of all the bridges. The simplest. Yet it’s the one where people gathered most evenings to have picnics and just stopped to enjoy the river. This was a comfort zone. It felt bare, raw, plain. I could relate to it. There’s really nothing exceptional about this bridge apart from the lamp posts on it. But there was a warmth, tangible, indescribable, essential.
Walking on it I felt a sense of all the history this river has seen, felt in the air the joys, sorrows, passion, struggle of those that had come to Paris….left Paris. This river divided the two sides of Paris yet its bridges served to physically and metaphorically unite.
I had a sense of all the opposing things in my own life, and wondered how I might create bridges to restore balance and harmony.
Without the constant chatter of children and white noise of domestic life, I started to feel my own feelings and my own thoughts. I was surprised how rare the chance to do that actually had been in my life thus far. In the course of 11 years I’d never had any me time. I decided to allow it all to surface and would give myself the chance to examine my life as honestly as I could. It was a very confronting sensation to not have any distractions, and to have this priceless solitude simply to be able to think, no, to feel.
I leaned on the railing and just let the emotion overcome me. I could feel the walls come down, barriers breaking. The need to always be strong for others, dissolving. Like a Russian babushka doll, I could feel a vulnerability within me had been waiting till it was safe, for its time to surface, to evolve. But here, in a foreign country, with so many unknowns?
Yes. Here I felt safe, welcomed, visible, relevant. In this foreign country, in the city of lights and love, in Paris, I would be remoulded, reborn. I surrendered to the energy present all around me.
Luckily I was wearing sunglasses. Salt water rolled down my cheeks, falling quietly into the waters below me. The Seine carried away many years worth of tears and made them all great again. I knew I would be okay.