“What keeps my heart awake is colorful silence.”
– Claude Monet
Paris Stories Part 5
I’m not a big city person. When I’m in a city I find myself searching out the back streets, parks and the churches. When I worked in Manhattan I often spent my lunch hour sitting in the quiet stillness of St. Patrick’s Cathedral to escape the noise and rush of the day.
Paris is the least ‘green’ of all the major European capitals, offering only 13.2 square meters of green space per person, as opposed to London’s 45, Madrid’s 68 and Rome’s 321.
So why did I choose to spend a week in Paris? Because I wanted to go to the Musee d’Orsay on my birthday. My new creative project on Instagram – foundartworks has me seeing colors, patterns and art everywhere. I wanted to be inspired by my favorite Impressionist painters; Monet, Manet, Renoir, Degas, Van Gogh and Toulouse-Lautrec, and Cézanne.
For the first half hour it was quiet enough to stand as close and as long as I wanted to in front of some of the world’s most iconic artworks. I became lost in the moment and the experience of staring so long into the brushstrokes of paintings I’d loved for so long was surreal. I didn’t use the audio guides. I wasn’t there to learn. I was there to feel. As Monet said, “Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love.”
I spent the whole day at the museum, taking breaks to sit in the large open areas of the former railway station. Surrounded by so much beauty I felt like time stood still as my heart soaked up all of the creative love it could hold. I thought of these lines from the Mary Oliver poem, The Summer Day:
“I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”