mardi, décembre 27, 2005

It's Neige-ing!

Well, We Just Had To Keep Playing "Let It Snow!"

A belated Xmas present for two SoCal transplants: SNOW. Let them flakes fly.

The day began grey, and by noon the first little feathery particles were starting to drift down. Dear Wife was at work in the living room (or salon) when she noticed this peculiar movement outside the window--like a small cloud of asbestos kicked off the roof above. But no, it wasn't asbestos, wayward lint, or anything else--it was snow.

Dear Wife was so excited she began to hollar and jabber and run around the apartment, dancing and cheering.

Not only did she enjoy this sudden, wintry event, but she had predicted it--nay, she had brought it upon us. She had been busily downloading Xmas tunes at the iTunes Music Store all morning, and her number one choice today, played over and over again, was "Snow," (by Irving Berlin[?], from "White Christmas"):

It won't be long before we'll all be there with

I want to wash my hands my face and hair with

We watched as a little mat of white begin collecting on the mossy roof across from us.

But then the snowfall began to fritter out, and it wasn't showing up on the newer, metal roofs, or the sidewalk below. They just looked wet.


So we went back to work.

And it started again.

Stronger, this time. Dear Wife took this picture, and it captures a bit of the "storminess." This is looking up rue Bonaparte (they just don't capitalize "rue" here, and I don't know why), toward the Seine.

And here lies the insidiously self-reinforcing power of Xmas Music: we were ooh'ing and ahh'ing to all this as we sang and danced to "It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas," "Let It Snow," and "Most Wonderful Time of the Year." Which is a memorable experience for this SoCal lad, this "heady nexus between carol, caper and climate."(V.I. Nabokov) It's like our emotional response is guided ever-so-slightly by this seasonal soundtrack...

...But, doggone it! It did look a lot like Christmas!

I went to the gym, and afterwards, up to our favorite little Chinese traiteur, just off rue des Ecoles. In the gym I'd seen little flurries come and go, but when I emerged, there still wasn't any snow on the ground. The sun was just beginning to go down as I walked over for my late lunch, and I hoped that nighttime would bring a blizzard. Soon, I was deep into my reading, ("A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again," by David Foster Wallace, a terrific gift from Dear Darling Tara, who shipped it all the way to France for us! Thank you!), and after an hour or so got up to leave. I looked out the door and--GA-ZOW!
It was like a blizzard! Even a street as big as rue des Ecoles was covered in snow! I ran outside, thankful that I'd brought Dear Wife's conveniently portable camera, and began snapping away.

Man, was it cold! I was having so much fun I hardly noticed, but my gloves were freezing to the camera (don't tell her), and my face was numb. I had to put on my hood and rewrap my scarf to better insulate me from the buckets, blankets and bushells of snow now falling on me.

OK, OK, those of you who know real winter weather must be laughing at my inexperience and wide-eyed wonder.

But even the congenitally hip Parisians were enjoying themselves, making intials in the snow sheets that covered every parked car, running and slidding in the icy stuff, etc.

Pretty cool!

RUE DES ECOLES at RUE ST. JACQUES (can you believe it?)

I wanted to photograph as much as I could, so I walked up rue Mazarine from St. Germain to the Institut de France; unfortunately, my pictures from here were too blurry, but it was quite a sight to see the cobblestone courtyard out front powdery white, and with just a little frosting on the dome. I kept walking on up to the Louvre. At the bridge (not the Pont des Arts, the other one, with traffic), there was some sort of accident--it looked like a chain reaction among scooter pilots. They all seemed OK. The snow was much heavier on the bridge, esp. on the sidewalks. I almost slipped on some icy parts. In the courtyard of the Louvre the snow was really starting to pile up--crazy! But poorly lit, so I turned to the Arc de Triomphe du Carousel du Louvre, which is the outstanding original work by Dear Wife's research subject, French Architect Charles Percier. I think it looks grand in the snow.
This is NOT the more famous, gigantic Arc de Triomphe de l'Etoile, (if we want to be correct), that stands at the top of the Champs Elysées. This is a much smaller model, completed during the reign of Napoleon, and finished years before the big one. For some strange reason, Percier's little fella reminds me of the no-longer extant Septizodium, a monument in ancient Rome that was erected at the heel of the Palatine hill to honor the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus...hmmm.

A fun night frolicking in our neige-y streets.