lo w :41 I often used for turn-around points back home. The rain was falling with force now, though it still wasn’t coming down anywhere close to what I call storm-level. As it did periodically, the river path had ended, and I was now up on street level. The traffic was no threat, and it made no difference if periodically I got splashed. The drivers weren’t being malicious. Infact,:I kept thinking, I had never had an unfriendly experience in Paris I had even been stopped several times through the years . on the street. and been asked if I needed help. I must have looked lost ., and I probablY .Was. I had not, however, been anxious about security or my state of soul:.I.was . simply looking for a grocery store, or a pharmacy; and I hadn’t known whiCh -W -ay. .to turn. But now that I was running and unconcerned about the rain,: could turn where and when I wanted, and later this morning I Would ‘even extend my run to give myself the luxury of running through the Tuileries. A running tour of Paris, I kept thinking,. was a fine . po&sibility. I’d been thinking about doing the marathon here for years, but final exams had always gotten in the way. So maybe, I thought, feeling curiously wistful, I’ll save the marathon here till I’m old and a younger crew is left to give tests.Whd knew when that would be? I checked my watch. I had already passed Notre Dame, crossed the bridge, and was now, as I say, messing around in the Latin Quarter. Maybe I’d stay on the Left Bank and work my way to the Musee d’Orsay before I took a bridge near there to .the Right Bank and the hotel. Then another fantasy: Why not make this morning’s run really long and go to Montmartre and see that splendidly white citadel, Sacre Coeur? Running steep hills would be good adventure. My watch, however, said I’d have to do that another daY..I’d dawdled and started my run too late for that long a detour. I needed to angle my way back to the hotel. My wife and I were to meet at a sweetly reCcirrithended cafe for lunch; and before that I’d have to shower,, check the, map, and leave thyself time for taking’ a wrong turn on narrow, labyrinthine streets. I was good at getting lOstthe price one pays for being. comfortable with pretty much wherever one is. The name of the trait, my wife told me -amor fati \(the notions since I was in high school ; but even I didn’t have enough imagination to think of him out here with me, even in spirit, running streets in a’ good, bracing rain. I was soaked, but at the same time felt. light-footed, dancing with the sensation .of freedom. Others had to be at the office. Others had to meet deadlines. All I had to do was show up for lunch after spending my morning running the Seine and some other arbitrarily chosen loops that I decided to take in Paris. While my wife was sitting at a long table and working in a dim’, high-ceilinged room, absorbing new ideas and modifying old ones as she studied the curls and strikes of a curiously awkward chicken-scratch penmanship, I was gathering images for a dds ferent kind of harvest. And when the two of us met at lunch, we’d tell each other the morning’s stories. James Hoggard’s neweSt .book, Patterns of Illusion: Stories and a Novela, has just been published by Wings Press. A poet, novelist, essayist and translator, he is the PerleinsProthro Distinguished Professor of English at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls. 11/22/02 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 31
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