There is the beautiful city, which if you can, please do visit, at least once. It is charming indeed.
But Paris is everywhere. It is in your neighborhood and maybe just around the block.
It could be at your local coffee shop, at a chance encounter during a stroll, at work or while standing in line at the market.
Paris is the frame of mind that lets you be open to all of it, the frame of mind that lets you get excited by the expression of the other, by the touch of their hand or the glow in their eyes.
You don’t ever have to go to Paris to have been in Paris.
You could have it stamped in your passport that you visited the city and strolled through its beautiful boulevards, and all of it would make for a pleasant memory.
But Paris is an attitude. It is an openness to welcoming the other into your life.
We don’t know how long the experience will last and how satisfying will it be, but the openness to what is possible will make the two who come together richer in their hearts and in their minds.
To have felt deeply will add to our range as human beings.
Standing on the Eiffel Tower and letting your eye roam over the City of Light will be memorable but it will not compete with having allowed yourself to mesh with another human being.
Nothing can replace that feeling.
Money cannot buy it (although it can corrupt it). Achievement cannot either. Earning a much desired prize won’t get you there. And it does not come from devotion to a god or a cause, however lofty and meaningful that might be.
There are substitutes, of course, as in the satisfaction that pets give to their owners.
But the uniqueness of the coming together of two human beings attracted to each other has no parallel. Nothing ignites as this does, nothing has the capacity to probe us to our depths and stir us to our heights. Nothing has the capacity to heal the mind and the soul. Nothing has the power to pull us back from the edge of despair – although it can take us there too when things go awry.
All that we’ve accomplished as a species has, in one way or another, been motivated by our desire to be acknowledged or admired, with the underlying expectation of a merging with the other.
Solitude has its virtues but emptiness does not suit us.
But give us a memory that we cherish, a longing that stirs, hope that our striving will be rewarded, and we’re set in motion.
Paris celebrates that desire and so it lives everywhere.
Paris is where we find it, where we turn on the light.
If we’re not doing so we have to ask ourselves why, for the longer the wait, the poorer our lives.
Oscar Valdes oscarvaldes.net oscarvaldes@widehumr