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Parisians have been enjoying a glorious fall. Leaves are turning into golden airplanes that sail to the ground on wisps of wind blowing through town. The sun has graced those hungry for its shining rays, though the temperature has dropped and many of us have been fettered with colds.
French farmers have taken advantage of this good weather by setting bales of hay on fire to protest their growing debt and slumping grain prices, most notably on the busy Champs-Elysees. If only I'd seen this! The good fall weather has also been used to great advantage by alleged double-murderer Jean-Pierre Treiber, who escaped from prison last month hidden in a cardboard box and is cavorting around France unhindered, to the dismay of the authorities. The accomplished woodsman has placed himself in something of a "Robin Hood: The Reality Show" niche, and he has reportedly sent letters to his girlfriend and media organizations extolling the joys of living in the wood:
"...At the moment I am in a very beautiful forest, I think all the different species of trees are here and it's really very lovely," Treiber wrote to his girlfriend. "It is nice with the mist and the deer and the boar."
He signed them "Jean Jean of the woods."
Back at new chez moi, which I must name, the news of the day is that I'm trying to pull the decor of our new home together. I'd like to report a successful trip to the puce--the flea market--at the Porte de Vanves. I met up with American friend Mario, Swedish friend Andreas, and new British friend Paul, and we jumped on the Metro and climbed up the stairs to a perfect fall day. Unbelievably, the market wasn't even crowded.
Dog on Cards at Porte de Vanves
I've found many treasures at Vanves, and on this day, I spotted a prime Turkish kilim for the darling dressing area my IKEA closet carved out. This so pleased me because I love a dressing room--and long for one as big as my current bedroom. But my new nook feels a tiny bit luxurious.
A few days later, I remembered a cool ethnic shop in the Passage du Grand Cerf. On the way home from having tea with friends, Lone Wolf and I ducked in there to summon a lovely Indian spread with rich print of exotic plants and flowers, as well as iridescent silk pillow cases. You see my decorative zen is a fluid elegance with chic comfort.
Do not pooh-pooh this.
Decor and design are important to me and to the Lone Wolf. I grew up in a house decorated with my mother's good taste, and my beloved brother Brent was an international man of style and a cosmopolitan decorator in New York. He had a natural gift as well as an educated and trained "eye" for finding the most beautiful, smart, and interesting objects within his gaze. David Halberstam called Brent "the talent of his generation."
Mother and Brent also inspired and trained me, not to mention the stylish gene that runs in our family. I cannot rest until my home has become the expression of me (Must I include Lone Wolf in this?) and us, and I have defined the space as naturally and elegantly as Frank Lloyd Wright would design a house. Until everything has its place.
But back to the news: This morning L.W. and I went for a walk and came across this tree tucked in the corner of the building:
We happened upon this corner, which was new to us, and I remarked that this tree was extraordinary and so French (and really dressed up the blah building). It had been grown and trained to fill up this corner. Using my design eye, I saw the tree perfectly fit and enhanced the space. Lone Wolf said it looked to him like the building had grown up around the tree.
I pondered this--and agree with him. This is how I now see it:
The Building That Grew Up Around The Tree
A little tree had been planted on this corner and lived happily there, learning the names of its neighbors and providing a home for happy bluebirds who taught their babies to fly from its branches.
The world changed, and the old buildings disappeared. A builder came to look at the land beside the tree to decide what to do with it. He said out loud, " I must cut down this tree." And suddenly, all the neighbors began gathering beside him. They said, "Please don't cut down our tree. It's our friend." And the bluebirds fluttered in front of the builder, and they tweeted, "Please don't cut down our tree. It's our home, and our babies are educated on its branches." And they all said, "We love the tree, and it loves and protects us. It is part of us and the land where it lives."
And the little tree smiled, and the man understood.
Unless otherwise noted, all photos by Beth Arnold.
---Beth Arnold in Paris