somber, rainy Paris: views from Montparnasse

the day began late (again) after marveling in the French cuisine and culture.  the headache was mild, just a bit stronger than the chartreuse imbibed the night before.  

cold rain spit sideways onto the hood of my puffy jacket, liquid accumulating and streaming down my back.  “Bonjour,” I say as I walked into the Tour Montparnasse.  

(previous day photo, tower in background)

Montparnasse was founded by artists, heralded residents such as Hemingway, Picasso, Cocteau, and Matisse.  the streets are very lively, the current residents diverse with varied shoppes along the cobblestone avenues.  

(previous day photo)

a whoosh and in 30 seconds I am up 59 floors to the roof, with 360 views of Paris in the soggy rain.  our last day to enjoy the city of light, I will not let a little water get in my way! stand down, clouds! I have traveling to do! 

very carefully I stepped around the slick metal, my wellies gripping the panels beneath me.  if it were clear, I might have seen Basilique du-Sacre Couer Montmarte, with its artists and musicians and street performers.  instead, I noticed the green stretches of boulevard pointing from all directions into the city.  

a few landmarks, some modern buildings, and what looked like villages encompassed by gardens- later known as cimeteries.  the Eiffel Tower was much less extravagant from this view.  I felt empowered and strong next to its tiny structure.  the view from the top of Montparnasse on a chilly somber day much different than a sunny day. 

since such somber existed, I decided to walk the 2nd largest cemetery in Paris, a few blocks away.  

the rain lifted somewhat as rows and rows of burial grounds, mausoleums, and family plots became evident.  I couldn’t find the tomb of Vaslav Nijinsky, but there were some graves corroded open for all to see.  the fall leaves accompanied ferns and wintergreens, the crows squawking wildly at the humans who entered. a beautiful scene for the November day.  random pumpkins could have only made this act more complete.  

the sommelier had stayed in bed, as he felt tired and slightly ill from the day before.  he asked for some medicines from the pharmacie, so I headed back to the apartment mid-afternoon.  

after a few hours of rest, and a sandwich from the local Boulangerie, I could feel the pins and needles under my skin and I began to rash, my typical response to a vaccine lately. I became chilly and achy and feverish all at once, so we decided to stay in and rest our bodies for the upcoming journey to the Bourgogne Franche-Comte Region.  

a night of Netflix ensued, with bouts of sighs and pangs of achiness.  oh Paris, I believe I am worn out in my middle age!

get real: the inspiration of Terlingua.

in this part of Texas, its rare to see more than one homestead within a few miles; isolation is a way of life.  

the town Terlingua has been a part of our history for as long as Texas has been Texas, with legends and folklore and campfire stories handed down for generations.  mercury was first discovered in the late 1800s, and by 1900 at least 3000 residents harbored near the Chisos Mine.  

young children attended school near St Inez church while their siblings and parents worked long hours in the cavernous mines.  many deaths occurred at various ages, the local cemetery filled with remains upon remains of accidents, explosions, health outbreaks, and malnutrition.  

this part of the country is harsh. 

weather, even with the brush, mountains, creeks, and streams, is very dry.  Terlingua lies in the middle of the Chihuahuan Desert, so growing much besides peppers, tomatoes, and onions seems futile.  there are no big box stores or grocery chains for hundreds of miles, the only shopping local general stores.  Southwestern art blooms.  

with a population of less than sixty, the people here are rugged like the terrain, but gentle like the ecosystem.  like many others in West Texas, they long for rain and clouds and access to usable water.  their heritage is Native and Mexican and Anglo, a mix of hardiness that defies all scenarios; an infinite wisdom lurks plainly.

farther north, more famous towns known for their art appear on the map.  here in Terlingua, the artists keep odd hours, but once they’ve caught you in their web, you are hypnotized, drunken with respect and envy and awe.  

the unique culture of the region abounds. 

we are blessed to have made your acquaintance.  

namaste, Terlingua.