Breaking the ice because of the elephant in the room
In my backyard, to the left of the deck is a fish pond. Every morning for the past while, the top layer of the pond has been frozen solid (poor fishies). By mid-day, the ice cracks and eventually melts until the cycle is repeated the next day (winter isn’t over yet!). As I was thinking about the transformation of this pond, it inspired me to finally somehow ‘break the ice’ since my last blog. But this is a tougher blog for me to write.
I was in the middle of crafting an unfinished blog when the tragic events of November 13th happened. Something froze for me that day and I haven’t been able to write about this or that since.
Breaking the ice means acknowledging the elephant in the room. “This elephant” has been standing between me and my outward written expression. I have been fighting the idea of sharing even the little bits I’ve written below. I’ve even asked myself ‘why bother, why share, what’s the point?’. The answer: I don’t know, but I’m honouring the process.
Before the horrible events of that night, I had a memorable and magical Parisian day running errands and enjoying the scenery. I posted many photos to my Instagram in awe of the beauty and the high energy of the city in almost full Christmas tilt!
But hours later, the unexpected happened.
I was enjoying some wine and appies with friends on a terrace (patio) about 15 minutes away from the Bataclan when it happened. Just before planning to leave the restaurant as it emptied quickly, I was texted by my landlady and local friend: “Are you still in Paris? If so, get home, now!”
It took almost 2 hours to get home following the attacks. When I finally entered the house, glancing only a moment at the horror on TV, I quickly cocooned myself away in my room. I started answering the numerous thoughtful messages that came in from concerned friends and family in North America.
The days following the attacks were the hardest to breath through. I asked myself existential questions day after day, experienced numerous sleepless nights as I circled the emotional roller coaster, mostly of tears. At the same time, I had to keep working and functioning, somehow. I remember needing to take the metro for a meeting just days after and when the train passed the Voltaire metro stop I started to weep. I felt broken and my heart ached for everyone.
Taking one day at a time was the only thing I could do aside from the support of a handful of incredible friends that kept checking in with me right up to and including when I boarded the plane to Canada two weeks later.
This was my first trip back to the West Coast of Canada after almost 2 years since moving to Europe. I was happy to be back but I was still processing a lot. However, with this precious time half way around the world, I tried to soak up this in-person, face-to-face time with countless friends and family in various cities. And what timing….I filled up on hugs and kindness, grateful for the time back ‘home’. I miss everyone dearly!
I posted some photos from my Canada trip on my Facebook page: Allison Lund – Writer and Leisure Traveler
Less than a week back in France, fighting the worst jet-lag of all my flights to Europe, I was tutoring the 16 year old down the block. The assignment she was given that day was the following: “Is Art stronger than Arms?” Seriously? My heart skipped a beat.
Needless to say, this question became the focus for our tutoring session. She asked me what my answer would be. I responded philosophically. What an English assignment!
There is always so much more that I could say and/or different ways in which I could say this or that about November 13th, 2015 and my experiences, but I will leave it “there” for now, covered in the light of peace.
With respect to the elephant, I wish it greener and healthier habitat elsewhere.
Although I will never forget the victims, their families and friends and everyone and anyone affected by any degree of tragedy and/or sadness, anywhere in the world, I pray and wish you peace, love, light and happiness.