A Good Book in the Garden

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Solitary Reader, Luxembourg Garden, Paris

Solitary Reader, Luxembourg Garden, Paris

You don’t hear the rustle of the leaves on the gravel path or the scooters in the distance.

The long warm afternoon is fading but the autumn leaves still provide a reflected glow. There is enough light in the opening under the trees. You are still caught up in another time and place.

It is a good book. Time has been forgotten. Your mind is filled with vividly imagined villages, laughter, arguments, passions, fear, danger, and music. You are challenged to follow intricate manipulations of strong characters. Or you are fascinated with the details of the real people involved with major historical passages.

Everyone else is leaving Luxembourg Garden. They are heading home to start getting ready for dinner. Or they are walking to a nearby café to relax for a few more minutes. But you are still with the people in your book. You have found a quiet perfect bench for reading. There are no disturbances. You are on your own island in the bustle of Paris.

It is a good book. A real book. No battery to run down. No advertisements. No brand loyalty. Just the author and your imagination. The heft of the book and the feel of the paper. The tradition of turning pages.

We were also leaving Luxembourg Garden when I saw this little tree-lined path and the solitary reader out of the corner of my eye. We walked on to the exit gate and were about to leave when it sunk in what a beautiful situation that little path was. I asked for my wife’s patience while I walked back and tried to tell that story without interrupting the reader. I know that I crunched leaves but I tried to walk quietly. He didn’t look up.

We had spent many hours in the garden that autumn day. The gardeners moving full-grown trees, the Gendarmerie on patrol, crêpe vendors, runners and walkers, statues, and pétanque players were all interesting. Maybe you have now spent a few moments in the garden on that afternoon also. I hope that you enjoy this photograph which I call, Solitary Reader. Photo: 1/500 s at f/2.8.

This photo is currently on display in the Juried Photo Exhibition ‘Northwest Eye’ at the Morris Graves Museum of Art in Eureka, California through May 9, 2010. There are many interesting photos in the exhibit. I hope you can visit it, if you are in the area.

There are other Paris photos in the Photo Gallery at my website: www.earthmapphoto.com

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