In discovering a tossed away strip of silence, amidst the droppings of the ever hapless hordes, I found more than just an empty moment, which I picked up and folded, wrapping a bit of that precious silence, to be found… anywhere/anytime that one requires restoration… into a small shawl of contemplation. A snatched treasure, a chunk of sweet folded silence, which works as shawl of contentment around my sometimes fragile body. I rediscovered myself, my purpose… wandering the halls of the Louvre, again.
Tourists, everywhere… Frau Kolb, no different, really… just taking in the eight miles of art… the whole grand history of theft and creation, slavery and the evolution of social norms. We stroll, and time peals back and reveals its secrets in rooms decorated to meet the taste of Napoleon.
At the Louvre, I feel at home. Hungry! We stop for lunch… the Angelic, a restaurant inside the Louvre. We sit down. I am aglow with pleasure. The sights! The Winged Victory of Samothrace! Ah! What splendor! What a treat! Ah! To be so far away from home and… oh… we are not so far from what we seek to avoid… there is a slick blond, one of those viciously expensive looking, women whose face is always freshly moisturized and glistening from a four-hour hydration and suction, green mud, facial(s). The woman announces to everyone within a one mile radius that she is American, from Miami, no less! Her blue eyes WIDE with determination, an indefatigable will to communicate, with the quiet bookish looking French couple seated just across from her, “We have gone to hugely expensive formal restaurants, two nights in a row!” She is agog with wonder. How is it even possible that such a HORROR could exist??? She continues, “Could you recommend something more casual?” She wails.
I feel sorry for her. She is in Paris, the birthplace of the casual bistro, the superlatively casual corner cafe… NO ONE NEED ASK FOR A RECOMMENDATION! No. No one. Not a single person need ask an entire room of strangers a question so stupid. Nope. Moreover, we do not care to know that you have eaten, nor where. Please be quiet. Frau Kolb was having a sublime moment. Frau Kolb was feeling a tense joy of self importance, savoring her much anticipated arrival at the world-famous LOUVRE, center of world LOOT, and to share it with this… clearly rich, pampered, loud, spoiled, BABY of a woman… well… that offends Frau Kolb’s refined sensibilities.
Loud American women and their public announcements of vacuity interfere with an on-going fantasy of sublime independence from the generall noxious environment, which I hold dear.
After lunch, we keep moving, allowing ourselves the pleasure of walking deeper into the bowels of the museum… ah! See the foundation… oh! Words, in blue neon, adorn big thick underground walls from when this building was a castle… a fortification, a keep, and all of the rest. We emerge into the throng of gawkers into the venerated Egyptian wing. Snippets of conversation catch our ears and hang like rings around the unfolding art adventure which is a much awaited and desired trip to the most extraordinarily well stocked cultural treasure house, in the world.
“Ack! Egyptian ART!” Exclaims the tubby girl in tank top and flip-flops to her following, of two boys about her age, and of a sheepish devoted sort. “Ya’ take the body of a human and stick it with an animal head!” She waves her hand dismissively at the vitrines housing objects whose history, provenance, and miraculously enduring meaning is of religious intensity to me… to us… the treasures of north African antiquity, dismissed by a slightly overweight, grossly underdressed, loud, person of probable mixed European, background. What else is new?
Ok. We move on. A few steps further, away from the girl and her companions, we fall into that slow and unwinding revelry which is waking up to the profundity of human ingenuity, triumphs in the face of daily examples of mass ignorance threaten to cloud our hope in humanity. We see and sense and experience the sacred that is really there in these sumptuous objects invested with human thought, values, intelligence, and priceless concentration.