Flaneur, Travel

A Fond Memory

Having had my memory jogged by Paris by Cellphone’s post today, I wanted to share a special memory from my travels.  On my first trip to Paris, Tour Saint Jacques was the first thing I remember seeing in the distance and saying to myself, “I want to find that”. (I hadn’t made it to the Eiffel Tower part of town yet)

Armed only with my Nikon and a Plan du Paris, I walked in the general direction of the tower.  Not knowing the name, I couldn’t locate it on a map, but that was just as well because Paris is best explored on foot.  When I think of all the things I would have missed out on had I had an agenda, well…I shudder to think!

Tour Saint Jacques, 2009
Tour Saint Jacques, 2009
Photo Theme

Travel Theme: Walls

I am digging these photography challenges!  They give me something to look forward to when I can’t get out and shoot new pictures.

Ailsa always has a fun prompt, and this week’s is Walls.  Check out her blog for her take and see what others have come up with, and maybe add yours as well!

Some walls have secrets

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Deep Ellum, Dallas, TX

Some walls tell stories

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USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor, HI

Some walls are inviting

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Downtown McKinney, TX

Some walls are off-putting

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Some walls make you feel small

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The Louvre, Paris, FR

Some walls hold history

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56 rue Jacob, Paris, FR (where the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1783, acknowledging the independence of the USA)

Some walls are beautifully decayed

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Downtown McKinney, TX

Some walls are beautifully juxtaposed

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Downtown McKinney, TX

Some walls are hidden treasures

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Downtown McKinney, TX

Some walls are national treasures

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Foundations walls line an empty moat under The Louvre
Paris, FR
Flaneur

Patience, Soul Candy

I was looking over some old photos, and as I came across the one below, I remembered how long I waited to get that shot.   (Well, I don’t remember how long exactly, just that it was a lonnng time.)  I was standing at the Place de la Concorde looking toward the Champs-Élysées, and I noticed the beauty of the trees with their leaves in various stages of autumn’s change.  Cars kept zooming around that busy circle, and I knew it wouldn’t do to crop out the sidewalk and the lampposts.  So I waited…and waited for a lull in traffic.  My patience was rewarded with this:

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Who ever is out of patience is out of possession of their soul.  ~ Francis Bacon

One of the reasons that I am well-suited to traveling alone is because I will wait as long as it takes to get the shot I want.  I have only found a couple of other people to whom I can say, “Hold up a minute” without feeling that I’m inconveniencing them.  It seems that a lot of people have their eye constantly on the next item to check off their list, the next “thing” to obtain.  I myself am more interested in the journey of attaining the “thing”, while leaving room for wonderful discoveries along the way.

Because of photography, I find that I am much more aware of details, and therefore more present in the moments of my life.  Photography to me is not a distraction from the events around me, but an active participation in them.  Oftentimes, that calls for the putting away of my own agenda and responding with patience to the call of the now.

Beauty in Unlikely Places

Oscar Wilde

How odd that I became aware that Oscar Wilde’s grave has been cleaned and barricaded on the anniversary of his death today, November 30.  I am not particularly enamored with Oscar Wilde the man, but his literary works are an important part of my intellect, and I am a bit sad that this has happened.  No single person has had more thoughts (thankfully preserved in writing) that I readily agree with. His keen observations on interpersonal dynamics were spot-on and as applicable in today’s society as they were over 100 years ago when he wrote them.

His was the first grave I sought out on my visit to Pere Lachaise in 2010, and I’m so glad I took pictures.  The lipstick-stained lip prints covering the tomb are there no more.  Neither are the words of admiration (in many different languages) for his work.  I spent quite a while there, reading, for every bit of its large surface is covered with love in the form of kisses and thoughts.  I think it was a wonderful tribute to the man whose work is timeless, but Parisian officials did not.  The next time I go back for a visit, it will have been “decontaminated”, and I’m glad that I got to see the tainted (read: REAL) thing.

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One of the reasons why I am sad for the desecration-by-sterilization of Wilde’s grave is that his deep thoughts mean so much to so many people that writing and re-writing them are a way to pay tribute to him. One of my favorite quotes by him was written here (in the lower right) by a fellow admirer:

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“Le plus important c’est de vivre. La plupart des gens se contente d’exister” (Most important is to live.  Most people are satisfied to exist) was someone’s personal interpretation of one of Wilde’s quotes.  The actual quote is one of my favorites, and anyone who took the time to write it as a tribute to Wilde on his grave is A-OK in my book.

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