Tuesday, June 17, 2008

from somewhere in Paris, by the river Marne: shades of gold, shades of green

The baguette. I buy a half a baguette each day. I can’t ever finish it – it seems like a lot of bread to me. But its staying power is minimal: best consumed within hours of purchase. And next morning it is hard as a rock. Ed tells me reheating it in the microwave softens things up considerably. But I cannot do it: reheat a baguette in a microwave?? What, with maybe a reheated cup of espresso?? There are some things that must be consumed fresh, or not at all.

It’s a work day for me and so I limit my excursions to two: one for a purchase of a half a baguette (for dejeuner) and a café crème at the bar. The other excursion is an evening bike ride along the River Marne.

Shades of gold, shades of green.

First the gold: my baguette is warm and crusty on the outside. It begs to be eaten right now, but I say no, you are for another hour. I watch person after person purchase three baguettes, three and a half, four even. What family needs four baguettes in a day? Aurore tells me – my little one can eat a half in one sitting.

I pass a bus stop where a man is holding only one. I am certain that it is a supplement to the three his wife has already picked up early in the morning.

003 copy

Okay, so French people are constitutionally formed to deal with the onslaught of baguettes. I envy them.

The thing is, in three days, I will go from abundance to zero. There is no good baguette to be had within 100 miles of Madison (where I live). Possibly not even 1,000 miles. Actually, most likely 10,000 but I don’t know for sure.

I tell this to Aurore, expecting sympathy. She, ever the kind host, answers – yes, but you have wonderful pancakes! (I do not reveal that those can be had with a flip of a Bisquick box lid; let the French stay with the impression that we do one thing right in the kitchen.)

006 copy

Now on to the green: I take Aurore’s bike and ride up the River Marne, just to wipe cobwebs from my brain after a day on the computer. I return two hours later, marveling how no matter which direction you take along the river, you always wind up closer to central Paris. It’s what happens if you live inside a river loop.

Not many photos from the ride. You’ve seen the river. Though perhaps you’ve not appreciated the many shades of green that it offers. And the animals that find shelter here. What is this one? A very large water vole? Like in the Wind in the Willows? What?

022 copy

Oh rivers! How much romance and beauty flows through them! No photo (of mine) could adequately depict either, but I'll leave you with a touch of both.

024 copy

036 copy