Paris, France

August 5, 2018

Sun-baked

Summer is in full swing here in Paris, and while most of the Parisians have left en vacance, the sun has moved in to take their place, full force.

It's the crisp, cool light of the morning.
The bleached, parching rays of mid-afternoon.
The time-shifted heat radiating off the buildings and streets at midnight.

It's a warm place to be, but I'm coping the same way the few Parisians who stuck around are - stay up late, sleep in late, and spend a lot of time in parks or by the Seine - anywhere you know you'll get some air flow.

Here, the sun shifts our daily routines. We pick the shaded side of the street to walk on, time the trips for our daily baguettes and vegetables around the shadows, and know that regardless of timing, we'll be hit by the warm, fetid air rising up from the sewer grates.

In modern cities, the story is so often about how we've conquered nature, how we live above and disconnected - importing just the parts we want. Natural spring water. Fresh mushrooms. Cedar and lilies bottled up in alcohol, perfuming our accents as we wade into the sea of faces.

How lovely to be reminded that for all our inventions, the sun still reigns supreme. That there is still nothing as refreshing as a cool breeze. That the best place to be in all the world is right where it's always been - under the shade of a friendly tree.

Have a wonderful week,

-Steven

p.s. The best thing I read all week has actually had me thinking for two weeks now (and might get its own discussion in a future letter.) See, comedian Trevor Noah and the French ambassador have gotten into a really interesting spat about that French world-cup winning team. How French are they? And what is French anyway? And who gets to decide?

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