Thursday, May 8, 2014

A slow re-entry

Tree box plants reflected in the shiny door of an UBER car.

Every day I think, This is the day I feel normal again. But then the next day dawns and I feel even more back to myself than the day before. Everything is relative, and coming back from my pilgrimage is a lengthy process - obviously.

One thing I would love to do is get Paris out of my nose. I can still smell it. I know that doesn't make sense, but there it is.

It was months after my dog died before his scent dissipated. (He smelled like dry cleaning. When he was freshly bathed, he smelled like expensive dry cleaning; when he hadn't been bathed in awhile, he smelled like cheap dry cleaning.) Now I can't exactly remember the smell, but every time I pick up my dry cleaning, I get a whiff of my old dog, dead almost five years now. Going to pick up my dry cleaning is always poignant. Is that funny?

Paris: rancid butter, piss, really rich, fragrant earth, and history. That's what the city smells like. That smell got into my nose, into my sinuses and my head, heart and soul. It might be awhile before I can smell DC again. (Though - when I came home last week and turned on the water to take a shower, I smelled chlorine, so I'm perceiving at least some of DC's fragrance.)

I always say about soul retrieval that there's a reason why soul bits take off, hence the return of a soul bit involves a lot of negotiation and integration with the rest of the person. This is true for me. I feel full - whole - in a good way, yet all the pieces don't yet fit together nicely. It will take awhile. I'm having no problem being patient about it. What a trip!

I'm having crazy dreams, sleeping hard but dreaming hard, too. My days are surreal, especially because when I left we were still at the very beginning of spring, but a week later, when I returned, the midatlantic landscape had erupted into the most colorful part of spring. After the bitter, severe winter, this spring is hallucinogenic.

I'm not complaining!

It was very warm today, almost 90 F. I found every excuse I could to be out and about. I walked for a long while this morning, drank coffee with a friend outside Peregrine Espresso. I swept the sidewalk and the front walk and my front stairs here at the chateau. After that I sat for an hour on the folding chair on the terrace, gazing at the sky, listening to the birds, watching the people walk or jog down East Capitol. It was warm, really warm! The air was soft. After last winter, and then Paris (where it was chilly and rainy), the sweet air, warmth and color was healing, nutritious, restorative.

David Lebovitz's My Paris Kitchen cookbook arrived today. I've been reading it off and on all evening. Oh those cranky, complaining, officious Parisians! He writes about Paris lovingly. Really? Who could love that crazy place?

Oh! I must love it. I keep thinking, If I went back, I would ... even though I know I will never go back. I'm done with the continent for this lifetime.

I would love to return to England, to visit my friend Steve and to walk that land again. Paris? No. I am done.

And yet I remain in a liminal state.

Go figure.


  1. You know, for me, DC is the city with the most distinctive smell, especially in the spring and summer. I don't know whether it's the clay or the plants or what -- probably a combination -- but it smells very fecund, in a light and pleasant way. It reminds me of my grandmother's house in Hyattsville.

    I don't even know what London smells like. I often don't notice smells. I have a bad smeller.