The weather is overcast and chilly, and the light isn't calling my name for painting in a serious way, so I went to my favorite Saturday markets today instead. First to my local one for tomatoes and avocados and a small umbrella (necessary equipment to carry in Paris, though gratefully I didn't need it today), and then to the Marche d'Aligre, my favorite brocante, which is my favorite French word, meaning any second hand store or flea market or sidewalk sale. One word fits all for second hand goods. It's an alluring word. It was quite thin for August. The booth where I got my favorite teapot last year wasn't there. But I got another long sleeved shirt, which I feel I will need this trip, and I got my favorite mint tea, with a huge sprig of fresh mint and pine nuts floating in the top. I sat and sketched and wrote in my journal and generally breathed deeply and stopped moving for the first time in a long while. It felt good. I'm enjoying the quiet time to walk and contemplate here after feeling underwater with the church book project (marvelous though it was to be asked to do) for much of this year. Two weeks at home with multiple repairs and business to attend to followed it, so Paris, where all I have to do is feed cats and myself for the moment, is quite a restful change.
I also sketched on the way home. The city had taken an expanse of cobblestones off to the side of the Pantheon and erected benches, one of them with enormous gargoyles scattered down its length. One of the things I love about Paris is its creative use of public space. It continually plays with different options to invite people out into its spaces to mingle and enjoy. I love that, coming from the land of everyone being sealed up in their air conditioned cars and houses. It's hard to mingle in Memphis. So I sat to sketch a bit and then bought some Angelina's hot chocolate to drink in the park on the way home. Bliss.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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