Stranded in Paris: Thoughts from Abroad

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at home in Pennsylvania

One fallen leaf cannot replace the beauty of autumn.

My flight from Paris to NY had been canceled, which left me stranded in France. Drag, right? I got the chance to meet and have dinner with two great couples that I normally wouldn't have had otherwise, (we're planning to rendezvous back in NY some time soon); had a chance to catch up on some e-mails; composed some Power Shift 07 invite letters to Mayors of various cities, which I'll send out on Monday; and just got an opportunity to take a quick jaunt down the boulevard. It was actually the first sunny day since I've been here. What a difference a little sun makes! How grey paris is otherwise!

The street here is lined with tall stands of sycamore. There seems to be no autumn in the city - not like what we have in the Northeast. Even though, a littering of browned and brittle leaves huddle together on the sides of the walkways, as is to hide from the tromping feet of fellow passerbys.

I shuffled

Unconsciously through a trailing pile of leaves.

Crunch, whoosh, crunch.

It was the same sound my feet would make through the wooded trails behind my house on a cool October day. I can easily count it as one of my favorite sounds in the world. The sweet scent of soil mixed with red maple, sweet birch, and glistening inky caps would fill my lungs with each passing step. If I were lucky, I would find a big yellow sugar maple leaf to take home with me, and press it between the pages of my old Rodale herb book.

The extra day in Paris was worth it, if only for just that memory.

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