In Search of Truth and Beauty: A dream, then Paris

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“Romance is Alive and Well and Living in Paris”

The author during a morning in Paris in July. (Richard Halmans photo)

The author during a morning in Paris in July. (Richard Halmans photo)

Ahhh … Paris.

The mere word is enough to conjure heavy sighs, forgotten longings and a sense of something wonderful hidden around the next corner.

It was in November 10 years ago when I had a series of dreams that lasted through one night. In each of the different dreamscapes, I had to exit because I was preparing to travel to Paris! The purpose of my visit, according to my dream self, was to take my 12-year-old son on a journey. In one of the dreams he asked me why I was taking him; I looked into his eyes and all could say was that I knew I must. Through the language of our eyes it was understood.

In the last dream of the series I was at a travel agent’s office to pick up the tickets. The room was incredibly white and luminous, and as I sat waiting for her to get my tickets, I was filled with emotion. When she returned and handed me the tickets, I looked at her and said, “I have never done anything this frivolous in my whole life!” I began to cry, and then I awoke.

The dream stayed with me all through the week, and when my daughter Jasmine came home from college that weekend she was emphatic that I go. Jasmine is definitely a doer, while I am more of a dreamer and, before I knew it, she was online with my credit card in hand, booking tickets for her brother and me.

Max and I got our passports and found ourselves in Paris in February, just three months after the dreams. We found a beautiful old hotel a mile from the Louvre Museum. We had 10 days to explore and no set itinerary.

Looking up and sideways in Paris. (Joni Takanikos photo)

Looking up and sideways in Paris. (Joni Takanikos photo)

On our first evening out, we began to walk the old, winding streets of the first arrondissement. We checked out the neighborhood and began to look for a place to eat. After a couple of hours of meandering, we realized we were lost. Of course, to be lost in Paris is not too bad, especially if you love to walk, and both my son and I do. So we dined, and had beautiful food and funny mistakes with the language before heading back in the direction of our hotel.

Max was the one to find our way back. Thankfully, he has inherited his father’s internal compass and not mine, which is generally looking up and sideways at the world. The next morning, when I got out of the bath and was dressed and ready for our day, Max had a map of Paris open on his bed and proclaimed that he would be in charge of our route as we set off to explore Paris.

We walked for miles every day and every now and then Max would prompt me to stop, while he checked the map to make sure we were pointed in the right direction. That is not to say that we didn’t get a bit lost a time or two; all travelers must get lost in order to find out where they really are.

So if Paris calls you, as it has subsequently called to me, I recommend it for kick starting your romance with life itself. It gave me that and so much more.

The author contemplates the life of a Parisian painter at the Musée Gustave Moreau in Paris. (Richard Halmans photo)

The author contemplates the life of a Parisian painter at the Musée Gustave Moreau in Paris. (Richard Halmans photo)

I recently returned from my third visit to the city of my dreams and upon my return found myself in the audience for OutCast Theatre’s production of “Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris.” It was an extraordinary night of brilliant music and staging. If you have not had the opportunity to be part of the audience in the lovely Black Box Theater built by Outcast at the Whidbey Island Fairgrounds in Langley, be sure to check out their upcoming season of engaging and very entertaining theater. Who knows where they will take you? They brought me back to Paris.

Perhaps most of us are destined for Paris in the end, because as Oscar Wilde predicted: “When good Americans die they go to Paris.”

Joni Takanikos is a romantic, a poet, a singer, a newly certified yoga teacher and a full time dreamer.

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