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EACH TIME SOMEONE SHOWS THAT HE CARES
The day we walked around Paris was boiling hot. The sun beat down and baked the city to a fine simmer and the white dust of the Jardin des Tuileries rose up and coated the trees silver and dusted the tourists. The Garden is 63 acres and was designed by landscape artist, Andre Le Notre in 1664 (he was also responsible for the park at Versailles); it still looks much like his original design. We entered at the end by the Place de la Concorde and walked all the way through to the Louvre.

Because it was such a relentlessly hot day, and we had already walked the length of the Champs-Élysées, shade of any kind was welcome and we walked as much as possible under the trees and stopped often to rest our feet and enjoy the atmosphere. As we approached the end of the gardens, the white-scaped expanse of the reflecting pool's area shone and shimmered in the heat. At the far end, just before the mini-Arc in front of the Louvre, was a large tree which arched out over a grassy embankment near a hedge labyrinth dotted with sculptures. Several people were already sitting there, panting from the heat and sighing in the relief of a respite in the shade. Not far away was a boulangerie wagon selling sandwiches and baguettes and several people had taken advantage of it to grab a bite and to feed the eager flocks of waiting pigeons and sparrows that fluttered about.

An elderly man stood on the edge of the slope, feeding the birds. He was like a magician, the sleight-of-hand he used with a bit of bread and his waving fingers attracting several small birds to perch on his hands and eat from his grasp. Karin and I sat and watched him for what seemed ages, and I honestly felt I could have watched him all day, he was that wonderful. Several people were gathered around, sitting nearly at his feet, and they, too, tried to persuade the birds to them with a bit of bread, but no one was able to replicate his success. He saw us watching and smiled at us, and Karin, who is normally the shyest of my children at approaching strangers, was given a twinkling nod of encouragement to come closer. She didn't have any bread, so he gave her a piece, and showed her how to hold it and how to hold her hands, arm upraised and out-stretched.

He never said a word the entire time we watched him, before and after Karin helped to feed the birds, but we smiled and nodded to him as we left and he smiled and nodded back, and I think, of all the things we saw that day in Paris, that old man feeding the birds quietly and simply, was the best sight of all.




Photos by Anders Ek
awake
mood: awake
music: Nine Days—Crazy


Comments

In front of the Notre Dame, I saw someone doing exactly that with the birds there. Not him, but a much younger man. Fascinating to watch.

I was singing the "Feed the Birds" song from Mary Poppins in my head the entire time :D

Just what I was thinking! What a wonderful story.

How lovely. I'm sure that Karin will remember that forever.

(Anonymous)

o,o,o.... what a perfect perfect thing and what beautiful photos. Brings tears to my eyes... which is not hard to do these days given that I am a weepy weepy wee these days, but the tears of joy and wonder, they are harder to provoke and this story, these pictures certainly do.

It reminds me of my last trip to NYC where the thing I remember with the most pleasure was strolling through Central Park in the evening, watching for the unmistakeable lights of fireflies.

The simplest pleasures are always the best and the truest treasures are delivered by nature.

xo Wee

O! I DO miss fireflies!

Often, my simple pleasure is watching the birds on the feeder, and this morning it was watching the hummingbirds flitting around the flowering bushes in the backyard. I love the fireflies too, when I am somewhere they live. What magic in the simple things of nature...

just wonderful!

That's so amazing! I absolutely love "discovering" unexpected people like that who stay in your memory for a lifetime.

What a lovely expression he has on his face. So patient. Great pictures. I am sure your kids will always remember that interlude.

So cool! And Karin is turning into a lovely young girl/lady - she is just adorable.

Stunning pics Liz.

This was a sweet story Liz. Thanks so much for sharing the photos!

(Anonymous)
Beautiful!

What a lovely story...and Karin's face is precious!

Carol in Sweden

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