Monday, February 7, 2011

Sailing On...

"Children are the hands by which
we take hold of heaven." - Henry Ward Beecher

Photograph by Brassaï  (pseudonym of Gyula Halász) Children Playing In The Luxembourg Garden, 1930 French Ministry of Culture, Paris.

I had the immense pleasure of spending an afternoon a few years ago in the very spot where this photo was taken in 1930, Le Jardin du Luxembourg on the grounds of the Palais du Luxembourg in the heart of Paris. Well, it was more than a few year ago, more like two decades ago, but I remember it as if it were yesterday.

The mood captured by Brassaï in the early 20th century was the same...families, children, and artists spending a lovely day contemplating the beauty of their surroundings. The style of dress was definitely different (don't we love this young lady's crisp white cotton dress and the young man's short pants and natty cap?), but the relaxed, easy atmosphere was unchanged.

Children crowded around the perimeter of the garden's pool, launching their paper sailing boats and watching them glide across. When I was there, a few progressive parents were launching radio controlled miniature boats for their children, which drew quite a bit of attention and an equal number of frowns from the old guard Parisians. I wonder what is sailing on those waters today.

Children get it, don't they? They aren't caught up in the angst of the day. A hug and a cookie and a great paper boat are just about all they need for a perfect afternoon.

Whenever I get stuck in a cycle of angst, it seems there has always been a child to lead me out of it with the simplest yet most profound wisdom. Once upon a time it was my brothers and twin sister who could shift my focus from tears to laughter. Later, a couple of very special nieces filled that job with their delightful companionship. Before I knew it, I had four very wise and beautiful children of my own to bring that wisdom pouring in each and every day.

Today, I'm blessed to live with two grandchildren who possess extraordinary powers of perception and wisdom and light.

They show me how simple and yet profoundly important it is to say I love you to the people who matter to us, and putting it in writing is a great way to leave a lasting impression. I highly recommend it.

Much love to anyone who reads this today...I am blessed to have you in my life.

Billy Joel sings "Lullaby" (Good Night, My Angel)


  1. Oh how sweet little Tony is!

    Not all children are so easily pleased and happy. Me, for instance. I was a miserable little girl, truly. Morbid, fearful, sickly - jeez.

  2. Should have said, the older I got, the better I was. When you knew me in high school, that "uppity" thing about me was the remnants of my unhappy childhood. Now? Hey - let's fold boats out of newspapers and go float them on the Potomac, yes? Oh yeah!!

  3. Reya, I never saw you as uppity. You were the coolest, smartest girl around...some things never change!

    I look forward to floating boats with you soon. (but first, maybe a martini or two.) xoxo

  4. You are so right on about the kids. What joy they bring to us on a daily basis. Once again a beautiful post-picture-music to add to my day.

    Floating boats? Martinis? Lake? anytime and anywhere...

    Love xoxoxoxoxooxox

  5. Thank you, Vicki. Oh, yeah, the trifecta of fun...martinis, boats,and the lake. Anytime!

  6. One more thought for Reya. I've seen a photo of you as a child, and your sweetness permeated the image.

    I imagine you were a charming, earnest, and quiet child. I'll bet every teacher you ever had loved having you in class, right?

    Your interpretation is just your perspective, I think much like looking from the inside out. Those who saw you from the outside in saw a completely different child. I think. xoxo

  7. Love Le Jardin du Luxembourg. I could sit there for hours watching all the different sorts of people who wander in and out of the frame. I'm in that weird place in my life where my children are grown but with none of their own. No children in my life at this moment...a gap which I seem to be filling by acting like one myself!

  8. ah, this is so sweet --- nothing like a gift from a child to make your day. blessings back at ya, jo!! xx

  9. My favorite people in all the world are 3 and 4 year olds. Who else has the confidence and wherewithal to walk into a fine dining establishment on a Tuesday night dressed in a yellow Disney princess dress.

  10. jo i get to spend every day with three hundred kids between the ages of three and twleve. it's a part of heaven that reminds me each and every moment of the innocence, the simplicity, the innate grace and the goodness of the world. steven

  11. YES, Delana. There are so very many great people-watching spots in Paris, but Luxembourg was my very favorite! And that gorgeous fountain? ohmy.

    Acting child-like is definitely the next best thing to having them around. (Actually, it may be a tie!)

    Thanks for stopping by, Delana! xoxo

  12. Hi're so right. Even the smallest little items (rocks, leaves, bugs, etc) are wondrous gifts when given by children.

  13. Hello Pam...wonderful to 'see' you here. My granddaughter is four, and she picks out the most adorably creative outfits...sparkly skirts over leggings, polka dot dresses, and YES...plenty of princess attire. OH YEAH. That's self confidence!

    Thanks so much for visiting and commenting, Pam!

  14. Wow, Steven, that's a huge student body! I'm so glad to see that you "get to" spend your day with them. I, too, feel priveleged to be allowed to peek into their souls for a time and witness their "simplicity, innate grace and the goodness of the world" that eminates from them.

    What a lovely way to phrase it. Thank you.

  15. OOH. Bad typo. Bad. *privileged* Aaach.

  16. I miss those sweet little kid experiences. They really do bring smiles to the spirit.

  17. Ah, Tess. They sure do. Maybe you can borrow a child occasionally to have one of those sweet little experiences?

    I'm reading a Hardy Boys book to my grandson right chapter per night before bedtime. I found myself tonight wishing I could read aloud like you! ♥

    It's so kind of you to visit here, Tess. Thanks so much.

  18. Jo: ask my sisters what kind of little girl I was. Uh-huh. yeah. They'll explain it just like I did. Sullen, frightened, angry, morbid. That was me.


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