Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Places of the Heart

La Brasserie de l’Ile St. Louis, Paris

Today was my birthday and I turned forty-one. The funny thing is, one year ago my fortieth birthday, a birthday that is suppose to be monumental, was passed without much fanfare in a place where, despite having lived for over fifteen years, I found myself so utterly alone in so many ways.

This year was far cry from last year. This year, I not only was serenaded every where I went by strangers, who discovered it was my birthday, friends near and afar, and my business colleagues but I was treated to a special lunch and lovely dinner by two dear friends; both of whom last year I didn't even know. These two friends where just two of the many special people who made my forty-first birthday one the best birthdays I've ever had.

I think that I shall never sit in a more perfectly situated place in the world than Brasserie de I'lle St. Louis. It is the perfect place to ponder the finer points of the present, remember the days past and plan the days future. The broad expanse of the Seine as it is divided by I'lle de la Citie with Norte Dame stretched before you and I'lle St. Louis makes the end of Pont St. Louis feel like an oasis in the middle of Paris. Here, there is no rush and no pressure found on the Right Bank and no throng of tourists found on the Left.

So, as my birthday passes for one more year, I will take one more minute, if even only in my mind's eye, to sip some wine, listen to the conversations of lovers and friends and say thank you to those who made today special.