I awoke early this morning and something on Facebook sent me to the news. I am so shocked and saddened to read of this latest attack in France. Should I write about lovely things when so many are hurting? Yes, I shall. For if we stop living our lives in the old ways, if we become creatures who scurry into isolation and suspicion, then those depraved terrorists have won. I will pray for France and for those who are hurting. I will be vigilant. But I will not hide away in fear.
On Tuesday morning we left our floating cocoon of luxury and took the Paris Metro up to the Gare du Nord. We had hours before our flight to London and so we put our luggage in storage at the train station.
Paris is a huge city with plenty of pavement and tall buildings. But tucked away behind some of the massive doors that attract my eye are little gardens. A Parisian tour guide told us that if the doors are open, we should feel free to wander in. So we did. Several times. Peaceful green oases. Some formal, some intended as playgrounds.
Bright flowers, usually just one kind. Red geraniums in one garden, pink hydrangeas elsewhere. Roses in yet another.
This garden is not behind doors, but tucked away at the end of a winding narrow street. It's really three garden rooms, each leading into the other. The first room has a plaque - this is the Anne Frank Garden, and there is a tree, grown tall now, that began as a shoot from a chestnut tree she could see from her hiding place.
The next room contains the rose walkway and trellis seen above, with benches for contemplation, and a green lawn area where a yoga class was happening.
Further in, a playground rang with ... not the sounds of children at play, but workmen with noisy machinery making improvements.
Perhaps Anne Frank's example would be a good one to follow today. She maintained her curiosity about life and people. In the midst of fear, she found the ability to see beautiful things.