the 'city of light' was beyond brilliant in its radiant array of colours and contours. the waters of the Seine river were glistening and gleaming. along the Champs-Elysees - from the Louvre through the Tuleries Gardens and Place Concord to the Arche de Triomphe - everything seemed to be emanating Spirit and singing a love song to Creation.
it was also hideously hot. pushing 40 degree celsius (104 degrees fahrenheit).
but i really didn't notice the heat. the glorious grandeur of the city captivated my attention and captured my heart.
and then i got on the Metro.
and the stunningly sensational surroundings i relished above ground shrank into a stiflingly stuffy squash of too many bodies shoved into too little space. people smashed together like sardines in a can.
surviving 10 minutes that felt like 10 hours, the 'can' was finally opened and the 'sardines' were set free to run, not walk, up the escalators and back into the shimmering sunlight.
and 40 degrees celsius never felt so cool and comfortable in my life.
a breath of fresh air!
it seems that lately, i hear this phrase often. as in several times a day.
'after all you've been through this past year, getting a new job must feel like a breath of fresh air.'
'having you join our community has been such a breath of fresh air.'
'hearing what you have to say truly is a breath of fresh air.'
and i have to admit that there's at least an echo of truth in these sentiments.
i'm truly thankful to have a job. and to feel so warmly welcomed into a new community who has provided me with a house in which to live and a calling in which to give.
i'm deeply honoured both to have received some new breaths of fresh air and to be a source from which some fresh air is experienced.
the irony, for me, is that what i sense i am bringing to these new ventures isn't all that 'fresh'.
it's just what i do. it's the 'air' i'm used to breathing.
but maybe sometimes, just being in a new venue sharing the same old stories, or hearing a new voice in the same old venue, can breathe some new life into those same old stories and venues.
the constricting 'can' of 'sardines' can be set free to rise into the shimmering sunlight of a new day.
and spectacularly sunny, stifling steamy, 40-degree-celsius weather can feel like a breath of 'fresh air'.