November Is a Bridge

 

Embed from Getty Images

 

The first autumn I spent in Paris stays close to the periphery of my vision and my memory, as do important moments in our lives.

On Saturdays and Sundays, when I had no classes, I took long walks along unknown streets that took me from one arrondissement to another. Often the discovery of the city left me dazzled and speechless.

During these solitary autumnal walks, the bridges (thirty-seven in Paris) that straddle the river Seine and link the left and right banks took literally my breath away. I liked nothing more than crossing the Pont Neuf, the Pont Saint Louis or my very favorite the Pont Alexandre III.

Embed from Getty Images

Soon autumn deepened and winter drew closer. By November I wore a raincoat against the drizzle and later downpours, a scarf tightened around my neck, while gusts of wind rose from the river. Under these more hostile elements November appeared like a bridge, too.

Lacking the beauty of early fall and upcoming winter, November felt, however, essential to transition between these two seasons.

 

Many years and bridges later…

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With my born-American children in preschool and elementary school in Massachusetts and California, I was regularly invited to introduce a little bit of French culture to their classmates. Kids everywhere in the world love to sing foreign songs, so I decided to start with a few French songs. For some reason all American children knew Frère Jacques.

So I taught them Sur le Pont d’Avignon and then Sur le Pont de Nantes. The first one is much easier than the latter. Retrospectively I wish I had made them learn Apollinaire’s poem Sous le Pont Mirabeau. Ah well.

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Much time has passed since my feet echoed along those Paris bridges, the sound as familiar as the beating of my blood. Yet November remains in my mind linked to them and to the passage from fall to winter.

 

This year to celebrate the month of November I am part of three writing events, somewhat bridges between writers:

  • Starting on November 12 and running for ten days, I participate to a multi-author promotion event.
  • Late November I will invite on my blog a mix of authors who wrote stories set in foreign lands.
  • Since the publication of Chronicles From Château Moines in October 2014 I started too many manuscripts. I had to face the fact that I was delaying their completion, instead writing shorter stories, because I was fearful to go through. I am now tackling the task to finish them. One at a time. And I’m taking the opportunity of NaNoWriMo, the yearly writing event, to finish my YA novel first. One day at a time.

 

I’ll be back soon. Meanwhile I wish you all a beautiful month of November. Behind its shorter days and dullness hides the chance to end autumn on a triumphant note.

 

P.S. Also Happy Birthday to anyone born in November, my own birthday month.

Comments

  1. Wishing you a wonderful November Evelyne. Sounds like you have a busy time ahead – loved seeing your photographs of Paris!

  2. Mais quel bel article, et quel beau titre : Novembre est un pont…Je crois que je vais essayer de le traduire et le partager aussi, celui-ci, vraiment, mais je te soumettrai mon travail avant ! Sauf si tu nous le fais en français…;)

  3. Evelyne, you are so right! I never thought of it that way, but November is indeed a bridge. Thank you for sharing these beautiful images. Huge hugs!

    • So nice to see you again, Teagan. November is a little sad, a little less loved than other months, but this is how I see it. I’m glad for the free Getty library that allowed me to get the gorgeous Parisian bridges. The rest are mine. See you, Teagan.

  4. Wonderful post Evelyne. Growing up in Pittsburgh left me with a lasting love and appreciation of bridges. I never tire of seeing them, seeing pictures of them or walking across them. Thanks for sharing your special ones.

  5. I love to walk across bridges which provide such great views – up, down, across and behind – so many possibilities!
    I hope you NaNoWrMo project is going well and I’ll look forward to your author posts.

    • Isn’t it a great feeling? I love to feel ‘suspended’ between earth and water. Paris has really gorgeous bridges but California and the rest of the US has quite a few awesome too.
      NaNoWriMo is doing well! 25 000 words tonight. Yes!

  6. Behind the Story says:

    Bridges past and present is a good unifying principle for this post. It’s romantic to think of you walking over so many bridges in Paris when you were young.

    Happy November birthday.

  7. Wishing you a very Happy Birthday Evelyne! You share the same birthday month as my middle son 😉 I am walking across November’s bridge with you as I wade through the revision of my memoir’s first draft. I think of you and wish you every success with NaNoWriMo and look forward to catching up with you soon! And the first and so far only time I visited Paris was in a bitterly cold but beautiful November. I will never forget that magical weekend spent in your City of Lights 🙂

  8. Thank you so much, Sherri, for all the lovely things you write above. I also wish you the best as you are plodding your way through your words and story. And Happy Birthday to your son. November kids rock!

    • Thank you so much Evelyne, and for your birthday wishes for my son. November kids rock indeed! Yet…a day after our comments, your beautiful city is rocked by horrendous attacks. I am so, so sorry for all your country is enduring at this tragic time…I send love and hugs and prayers ❤

      • Thank you again, Sherri, for your kind words. I know you love France and our common ties to the US make us special online friends. And I still believe that November kids rock, of course!

      • Yes, I am so happy to have met you here Evelyne, you are a very special online friend to me. And yes, they certainly do 🙂

  9. A bridge is a path that can cross many cultures, it’s a connector that bindings hearts and minds together. A bridge like a rainbow may bring happiness and fortune to it’s follower. What passes under we can leave behind, that which crosses over brings freedom. Only the footsteps of the traveler knows it’s end to which may end in mystery or enlightenment.

  10. Hi EveLyn I’ve wandered over from Solveig’s calendar and loved the analogy here. As a long term Londoner I might want to debate ‘best bridges’ between our cities but I will happily admit to the superb harmony that Parisian Bridges bring to the city. They are so much more than mere crossings, being events in themselves. They reflect the urge to walk that Paris invests in every visitor – as you post captures so well.

    • Thank you so much for your visit and kind words. I’m glad to read that you also relate to bridges. In London, Paris or anywhere else.
      The ones in Paris capture my heart years ago but I love bridges in general. Hope to see you again.

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