"Art is an abstraction; take it from nature while dreaming in front of it." Paul Guaguin I love the Impressionists. As Robert put it, on my first night in Paris, "Most art is religious or stern portraits of royalty. Most paintings were created to show sacrifice or power. The Impressionist are colorful, bright pictures that make you feel alive."
What he says is true. Impressionism brings the softness of every day life to a place in your heart. With swishes of paint it reflects the light and color of the world. Instead of demanding you see the hard lines of reality, it blurs the landscapes into something serene and almost touchable, as if the world is in a constant state of peace.
To walk the halls of art lined with Monet, Degas, Renoir, and Van Gogh has once again left me in awe of my life. I'm so blessed.
It's wild to watch the other travelers rush through the museum. They stop at each painting for a brief moment and then move on. It's hard for me to understand how they can do this since I find it almost painful to look away knowing that I won't see these masterpieces again for many years.
I've noticed the rushing is true of many tourists, not just with art, but also with the great scenery of the world. I remember sitting at the Grand Canyon and watching people walk up to the edge, take dozen of photos, and then say, "Let's get some ice cream." I wonder if our fast-paced regular life has left humans with the inability to really experience the greatness this world has to offer. I think it's been forgotten how to stop and take in the present moment and in that the memory of how to really live is lost.
Paris is full of tour buses. The tour leaders sit up front pointing out the important buildings and monuments while half the passengers are fast asleep from exhaustion. This is the way most travelers see the world - whirlwind tours set to tight time schedules that leave little space for the unexpected. I want to yell at them to get off the bus and out from the hordes that follow leaders holding up closed umbrellas. Get out and experience the city you're in. Realize you're blessed to be standing in front of true magnificence and take more than a second to soak it in.
Okay enough of my rant for the day.
After the museum I walked to Notre Dame and began to stroll along the Seine to take in the setting sun and the way the light hits the buildings casting a golden hue across the facades. Within moments I was joined by a man named David. He spoke french and I forced the wheels of my memory to move as I listened. Actually, my french began to return a few nights before when an annoying man followed me to my hotel insisting I give him my phone number. Suddenly, my bitch came on 'en francais'. To my surprise he clearly understood what I said and ran away. So when David approached I could actually ask him in french to speak slower so I could understand. He did slow but I learned that David didn't take life at a relaxed pace.
Within moments he had my hand and was racing me through the streets of Paris showing me Hotel de Ville, the best chocolate shop in Paris, and the Royal Palace. He grabbed my camera, snapping pictures of me and then handed it to a woman to take a picture of the two of us. He danced me in the streets, hugged me to him, all the while kissing my cheek as I ducked and swerved my head so as not to be kissed on the lips. His enthusiasm was contagious as he had me laughing while he tried to enrich my knowledge of the french language and pretended we were going to go for a swim in the Seine.
He insisted we take the boat ride along the Seine, but I was tired and hungry by this time and ready to call it a night. I bid him adieu with a kiss on the cheek and made my way across the Seine to home.