Really 'Real' Signs of Spring

photo: cafe, place dupliex

A café facing the Place Dupleix in the 15th.

Paris 'Peace Wall' Inaugurated

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 3. April 2000:- Since the 36-hour peep-show preview of spring early last week, there have been 10 days of constant winds from the northwest or northeast bringing the sort of weather I wouldn't want to write about and you wouldn't wish for a Paris visit.

I write a bit more about the weather because I live in Paris and can easily get out to feel it. On Sundays, I go out for a café before doing anything else. On the way out, I look straight up from the courtyard at the sky.

This doesn't show more than a limited rectangle of space. Out on the street I get a canyon-view of east and west, and at the avenue, I can see it all.

Yesterday, the avenue's trees had a green fuzz on them; their leaves are pushing their wayphoto: fiat 500 through crusty winter protection and they are just starting to show a green screen. In my apartment's protected courtyard, the leaves are well-advanced.

Here is the silly little car that won't go away, again.

While noticing this, it occurred to me that I am going through a year of seasonal 'firsts.' First summer in Paris last year, first fall in Paris and first winter in Paris; overlapping at the moment with the coming first spring in Paris.

Now it is my first 'April in Paris.' I think I am going to have to live through this before I will be able to get poetic about it and start writing lyrics.

My 24 other 'Aprils in the Paris region' don't remind me of much - other than winter keeping a tight grip with its cold fingers until after a bitter last blast around Easter.

The memory of this is so strong that seeing the apparent opposite of this yesterday around noon, makes it worth a mention. 'April in Paris, la la -la-la,' and I guess I should make the rest up even if it has already been done - by good writers.

photo: peace wallLe Mur Pour la Paix

If my memory serves me correctly, this '2000 In Paris' item was inaugurated in pouring rain last Monday by the President of France, Jacques Chirac. But there were large political events at the time - so all I have is a memory of a short TV-news clip - and the other 'events' are on this week's Au Bistro page.

The 'Peace Wall' is installed on the Champ de Mars, near the Ecole Militaire. This project is the idea of Clara Halter, and it is supposed to represent the universal desire for peace.

Thus the word 'peace' is all over it, written in multiple languages. The central corridor of the nine-metre-high structure has a multitude of screens, which display 'peace' messages from around the world, received via the Internet.

You are also supposed to be able to place your own 'peace' message on the temporary monument. When I visited it on Friday, between showers, a number of people were doing this. Kids were also copying the word 'peace' on drawing tablets.

A bit like the giant 'hourglass' in the Jardin des Plantes, this '2000 In Paris' structurephoto: centre, peace wall is supposed to make you reflect on its meaning and what it means to you.

The exercise of the passage from one century to the next, from one millennium to the next, is something to think about.

In the purest form of philosophy, you can think anything you want. In this sense, this monument is not here to do your thinking for you. It is just supposed to bump your brain off its usual preoccupations - to take a moment to consider some larger 'universal' ideas.

The 'Strange Email Addresses' Case

There has been no resolution to the problem of email bouncing back - as being 'undeliverable' - to certain Metropole readers. But by mentioning it here - 'on the Web' - Mathilda and Fred Daniel in South Africa got the message that replies via email to them were not being delivered.

Not that it heds any light on what probably is some technical problem - the results of some email exchanges on this 'case' are the subject of the email feature in this week's issue.

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