Today is my father’s birthday.
If he had lived he would be 99 today.
He was the one I mentioned in a blog post on 6 June 2014, as having gone to WWII and never really returning.
But I was here and now is now, so I needed take advantage of the precious days I have left here in Paris.
This morning I screwed around looking at emails and Facebook and related time sinks devoted to wasting it – time.
I sorta had a good reason: the day looked to be about to become a duplicate of the gray, cold, miserable yesterday (everything I love about Paris and why I come here at this time of the year) and, that love notwithstanding, I had convinced myself to go slow with getting on the streets.
So I didn’t – get on the streets until 1400.
I had decided, since The Weather Channel insisted that it was only going to be tres nuageux with 5% chance de pluie, to go on what would be a fairly long walk; not like yesterday’s 9 miles, but maybe six.
The walk was going to be up Canal St Martin as far as I felt like going or before it began to get dark, whichever came first.
My route of choice to get to La Bastille, which is where Canal St Martin starts, albeit underground until le premiere écluse, whose name evades me right now, and walk up Boulevard René Coty, was to go down La Seine on the right bank river level, which is the way I always go, so my protestations that taking pictures year after year and week after week and day after day on the same route is not really stupid because the light is always different was going to be stress tested to the extreme.
The traverse started in a boringly vapid manner with my taking pictures of the muddy wake of a passing boat: the river has gotten a lot muddier, which it wasn’t yesterday, overnight.
Then some terns caught my attention.
A little farther on, under Pont St Michel, I noted that the muddy water had also risen overnight and was not far from spilling into the dropped level travers I was walking on; in 2010 that walkway never was above water in my entire four months here.
The point to this route – in addition to the fact that is one of my favorites – was that it leads to access to Pont Austerlitz where I cross over the river, navigate the multiple life threatening crosswalks, and, once headed in the right direction, walk up to the street to the access ramp to l’ Arsenal de Paris where all the beautiful people moor their boats.
The picture of the entrance is across the river from the entrance.
That is an important note because just a little farther on, on the side of the river where I took the entrance picture, is the Paris Cop Boat Moorage.
That’s where, always on some day in November, the cormorants re-appear from seemingly nowhere.
I had stopped a couple days previously when I was going back from le Jardin Des Plantes to take cormorant pictures, but the day was so dark and grey that the contrast between Paris dark and grey and cormorant black was not going to produce anything worth the digits I was going to commit to the images.
So I just stood there thinking about how dark was the day.
My reverie was broken by the shriek of parrots, several of whom were catapulting out of Plantes out onto the river bank.
I have seen them dodge out and back from le Jardin previously, but never to the extent that they stayed outside of le Jardin for more than a few seconds.
In this case one of them landed on the lower trunk of the one of the sweet gum trees that line the access ramp up from the river to the higher quay level.
I jumped into action, but to no avail; the parrot didn’t stay.
But I filed that place away as a possibility for non traditional images des perroquets.
That’s why today I stopped and took pictures of the cormorants, light conditions being much more favorable than the day previously referenced.
As I was reviewing those images I heard the shriek of a parrot.
It landed more or less where the other one had landed but this one stayed.
And I got a lot of pictures; here is one of them.
That was the high point; the rest of the route went down hill rather rapidly; but the shot of the tower at La Bastille and the carousel at the beginning of boulevard René Coty are pretty good.
Then I got on the metro and, with a transfer at gare d’est, got off at St Michel and came out of the Quay St Michel maw in front of Le Départ St Michel.