It was quite a surprise that I suddenly wanted to take pictures again. So I picked up the camera for the first time in many months, cradling it to my chest with one hand in-between the clicks, happy to see again.
That is a gift that you gave to me. Yes, you. Your comments and emails of support and understanding are like a talisman that I always have in my pocket, just in case. I thank you with all of my heart. It is freeing to know that I can share and that being 'alone' is an illusion.
What wasn't surprising, not in the least, was that I would love my friend Elizabeth, La Contessa, in person as much as I have through communicating across the lines, over the years via the internet and eventually, due to her insistence, on the phone. She invited me to come out West to change my mind and then some. Maybe to shift perspective and pick up a bit of strength on the way.
I could feel the smile spreading up through my throat, across my lips to raise up my hand in a goofy wave as soon as I saw her at the terminal, waiting, searching the crowds for a redhead, possibly in a caftan. It was a recognition, a "Hello you" of a friendship made solid, something that would only intensify over the days as I fell head over heels for her and her antiques-filled (and I do mean filled) home, her charming Italian Husband, her winsome Corgi named Winston and even, astonishingly, a wise cat named Theodore (just don't tell Ben and Kipling). That all of this was to be found in California only added to the sweetness.
It was a champagne bubble of a week filled with everything that I like.
Did that pop when I returned back to reality? It did. I realize constantly that I am in the early days yet. But, when courage has been instilled it cannot so easily be stripped.
And so too, on this Memorial Day in the States, I think of the men and women who have crossed truly frightening lines, fueled less by inspiration but something lit like freedom. I thank them as well.
"The question is not what a man can scorn, or disparage, or find fault with, but what he can love, and value, and appreciate."
-- John Ruskin
A thought that I held onto tightly on that day in February when I flew out of Paris?
There is a horizon always above the clouds and it is shining blue.