In Paris, I sleep with my windows open, even when it is cool outside. Actually, I keep all my windows open, all the time. At night, I love feeling the fresh air against my skin, feeling the breeze come in and swirl around me. I can almost see it, this whisper of sensation dancing across my body. The pleasure is real, simple, and sweet.
Today I woke up and remained in bed, thinking of many things. The day starts much earlier now than it did when I arrived in Paris, so even at 5:47, it was light outside. My flat faces a courtyard, and it is filled every morning with birds singing. The sounds of the street are distant, though occasionally I hear a siren, or construction. More often than that, I hear my French neighbors talking to each other about the upcoming day; when they smoke in the courtyard, that smell wafts through the windows as well. It isn’t unpleasant, just part of the moment. Later in the day, one neighbor usually listens to Bob Marley, and sings it loudly, his French accent bending and swaying the words. We’ll be together, with a roof right over our heads…
There has been very little rain in Paris since I arrived, a fact that inspires people to tell me how lucky I am; apparently April here is usually full of showers. This month, though, the sun shines and shines and shines. At times it’s felt almost tedious, the weight of these bright days, but that is short-lived. I do miss the rain, though, and thunderstorms.
So this morning, laying in bed, thinking my many thoughts, feeling the fresh air upon my shoulders, I suddenly heard a sound I have craved: raindrops, slow, and then faster, and a rumble of thunder. Soon it was pouring. I pulled back the curtain and opened my windows wider, so that my whole bedroom could fill with the smell and sound of the rain.
Is it a silly thing, to say how much I love the outdoors, how much I love the change in weather, how much I love the simplicity of such a moment? Is it a silly thing, to admit that I was so soothed that I chose not to return to sleep, deciding instead to listen, and feel, and be?
The rain filled me this morning, washed me, baptized me. I am grateful.