Friday, March 08, 2013

Somebody is missing Paris



One moment I was okay and the next I just wasn't.

When I say I wasn't okay, I am not referring to being about to keel over and die or anything like that.

I simply mean that life and the stress that goes right along with it, seemed as if it were trying to eat me up, swallow me whole, or at least bully me into submission.

I submitted, alright. Or should I say retreated, like a turtle who pulls his head and legs as far into its shell, the house it wears, like a jacket on its back, can retreat. That is to say, I've been hiding. Hiding from myself. Hiding from my children. Hiding from the world.

Not sure why. Some call it depression. But that is such an unsatisfying explanation for such a complex human reaction. What is it really?

Explaining my absence was not my motivation for writing this post, though. I started this post to show you that one particular young girl in this house, I will not name names, has been pining for a city she has only ever spent about  three or four , or maybe five days of her short life walking around.

She longs for Paris, or at least she longs for her memories of our former life when we could get to Paris on a train, boarded in the darkest of morning hours on the outskirts of a village so quiet and lonely it seemed to ache out loud, in less than two hours.

I miss that too.

And she longs for the feeling she got in Paris, the feeling that life was full of infinite and unexpected beauty, that sources of creativity were lurking around ever corner if you only opened your eyes, nose, ears, and mind to them.

And, mostly, she misses the constant reminder that civilization, and, more important still, artists existed such a great long time before she ever arrived herself, and those artists likely roamed the very same streets and saw the very same perfection and experienced that very same sense of creative inspiration as she, a nine year old girl, experienced. When she was in Paris.

And she's been expressing that longing, with her paint brush. 


21 comments:

Rowena Brooks said...

Oh, I'd miss Paris, too, if I'd had the experience you did.

Did she paint that? If she did, you've got quite the budding artist on your hands! That painting is amazing!

Betsy said...

Yes Esther painted that. Did I forget to mention that.....?

Kendra said...

Oh My Betsy! Esther has long been my child-god, the one I want my children to emulate. But wow... I'm now thinking she's one in a million. That painting belongs as the centerpiece of your home!

Kingsmom said...

To feel that passionate about something again....

Esther has always been such a wonderful artist. This is amazing.

Mary McKhann said...

As always Betsy, I love your honesty. My daughter has been pining for the ski slopes, so I sent her this as a reminder of what an awesome thing it is that she lives in Paris and has raised her kids there. (And yeah, it would be nice if they could ski once in a while, but the main thing to to appreciate what you DO have.)

Sue Kol said...

Amazing painting, its got so much feeling in it. She probably also misses that feeling she got when it was just you and her that boarded the train to go to Paris.

cecile said...

She has a great talent ! Paris un jour, Paris toujours...

Jenn said...

As it has been said she has amazing talent! That picture is so beautiful.

alouise said...

What a beautiful post and what a beautiful painting! Thank-you for sharing!

kathy said...

Montreal is not that far away (less than 2 hours from Burlington), the part of town near the Old Port it is very European in architecture and vibe, and you can dust off your rusty French, too!

Emma said...

Holy crap, Betsy! That kid of yours is an amazing artist! My first thought when I saw that painting was "Oh I'd love to hang that on my wall."

Was Living Down Under said...

Betsy that painting is beautiful! My first thought was where could I get me one of those?

I think the weather has something to do with bringing on depression - for me anyway. Since moving back from Australia I'm much more aware of how it affects my mood. It was better this year because the snow gave us reason to be outside but it wasn't until the sun shone last week (and it wasn't minus 20) that I felt lifted.

One day she'll go back to Paris. And she'll get to relive those times (hopefully with you at least once :) )

Seamingly Sarah said...

She is amazing! I hope Esther continues to allow her artistic outlet to run free!

mgm2k said...

Your daughter is an amazing sensitive artist. But are you okay? So sorry to hear that your depression has reared its ugly head again. Hopefully with your DH in the States you can get the help you need and he can ease temporarily some of your mommy chores to lessen your load till you feel better again.

mooserbeans said...

First of all,such incredible paintings! Do you find yourself looking at them and thinking "That creature came from me, from us?" (I find that thought hits me almost daily now)

Secondly, I hope that you are feeling better now. I understand and will not post "chin up" platitudes. Sometimes a little hiding can be restorative.
I am glad that you're posting again. I missed your posts.

Kingsmom said...

I just started reading "From Paris To The Moon" the other night. Have you read it. I think you'd like it. Author is Adam Gopnik.

Betsy said...

I have read that, Kingsmom. I liked it but was disappointed he didn't talk a bit more about the harder parts of being an expat.

Betsy said...

Mooserbeans: I am feeling better. Ebbing has subsided, flow comes next, until ebbing again...(:

Betsy said...

Sue Kol: She totally misses that feeling. She still talks about it, that morning we boarded the train in the dark and ended up in the City of Light.

Megan said...

Living in Paris and longing for America, this was the perfect post for me. Just the reminder I needed.
Thank you.
And beautiful painting!

Allison Wilkinson said...

Very eloquently put! Having just returned from Paris, I fully relate to both your and your daughter's longing to be back in that magical city of light.

Beautiful painting as well!