I am so grateful to Paris for so many things, but one that seems to run through my life every day is that Paris really reminded me how to live. When Morgan and I got back from Paris last year, it really had a lingering effect on us. It wasn’t the first time I had been to Paris, but it was really the first time I had lived in Paris.
So how does all of this translate into dinner in the rain? I was walking home from French class tonight after stopping off to buy some vegetables for dinner when my phone rang. I had forgotten my friends had invited me out for dinner tonight in Grant park. They were at the bar waiting for me, so I walked over with my groceries just as they were being seated. It was a beautiful table at the Park Grill, a beautiful new restaurant just below The Bean off of Michigan Avenue.
We ordered some French wine and some delicious food when we realized everyone around us was getting up from their tables, all at once. There was a storm coming in and I guess everyone felt that it was better to head to tables inside the restaurant. We were under a huge umbrella and once the rain started coming down in sheets, we realized not only were we protected by the umbrella, but we had a beautiful view of the Chicago skyline and the lightning show that was getting underway.
We had an amazing dinner, talking about each of our upcoming trips to Paris and everything that was going on in our lives. It was one of those great evenings when we talked and laughed and watched the rain come down. As the rain began, we had turned our chairs to all face the skyline as we ate dinner and it was then that we realized we had done just what we would do in Paris. In so many of the cafés there, all the chairs face outward. People don’t sit across from each other as much as they sit next to each other and watch the world go by, enjoying each other’s company, and perhaps a view of the Eiffel Tower in the distance.
By the time we were finished with the wine and the cheese and the delicious salads, we were pretty much the only ones left. We chatted with our server who seemed to have as much fun watching us eat in a torrential downpour as we were having dining in it. The rain eventually passed and the clear night was as beautiful as it had been in the downpour.
It’s times like this when I realize that the difference between a rich wonderful life and one that is much less satisfying is the little decisions we make every day. When I got the phone call from my friend, I was loaded down with groceries and half way home on my two mile walk. I could have just as easily said I was tired and needed to get the food home, but I decided that the food would keep and time with my friends would be just as relaxing as going home. But it was so much more than that.
Being able to sit there in the rain and enjoy a perspective on the city’s beautiful architecture, all the time talking and laughing and living… well it is the little decisions that we make dozens of times a day that make all the difference.
Another of the decisions I’ve made is that I need to focus more on the subject matter that brings me the most joy in my life. Creating my beautiful nude images fills me with inspiration that I’ve missed. It’s been good to find the place in me again. It’s the thing that makes me feel the most alive that I do.
These are the first images from the beautiful model Frances who I had the pleasure to photograph a few weeks ago. She’s a kindred spirit and her beauty is more than skin deep. It was a wonderful day of exploring and experimenting and living our art. It’s been a while since I’ve photographed someone who I had such a deep connection with. As I mentioned in a previous entry, my best work is when I collaborate with someone I share a mental connection with as much as I am inspired by her physical beauty.
Yes, Paris has reminded me what it is like to truly live. I wake up and try to remember that as I’m faced with the dozens of tiny little decisions I will make in the course of the day that make all the difference between living and simply passing the time while I’m here. Creating these images of Frances is proof of my living.