A couple weeks ago, I embarked on my "April in Paris" adventure. I was on a quest to spark and stoke my creative fires.

Soon after this, life took a little detour. My father-in-law "expired" while grocery shopping. (Please note, I am not being disrespectful, this is how his wife of 54 years explained his passing to one of her granddaughters.) His was a life well-lived, true to his wife, a model of servant-hood to his family and fond friend to all who met him.
We are sad to see him leave this world, but are assured he is truly with God now.

On the same weekend that we celebrated his life, my husband took a tumble off the path, which we were strolling along on one of those first balmy days of spring. To catch himself, he landed on his elbow, fracturing it to the point of needing surgery to reattach the bones.

So my leisurely "stroll" through April with Paris in mind came to a halt, sort of.

Since I had set my mind on this way of living, I was on the look out for pockets of time to feed my "inner creative explorer
," even in the midst of stressful circumstances.

In Eric Maisel's A Writer's Paris, he describes a very French way of life called: flanerie, the art of strolling. Paris was engineered in such away that the main city remains  compact and accessible, even though they have their own version of suburban sprawl.

The fair city of St. Louis has experienced this sprawl over the years, and while strolling around downtown may not appeal to some, we do have "arrondissements" for practicing this art, whether its hiking in a county park or ambling along the streets of Central West End or the Delmar Loop.

A person who strolls is called a flaneur. Eric Maisel shares his insight into the purpose of flanerie:

The flaneur is an observer who wanders the streets of a great city on a mission to notice with childlike enjoyment the smallest events and the obscurest sights he encounters.
While my husband waited for a walk-in appointment, I left the hospital for a simple soup and salad lunch. During lunch, I searched the local area on my phone. A favorite bookstore was about a mile away. I had time on my hands, so I decided to stroll up Euclid Ave to Left Bank Books. On my way, I took note of the sights through the "lens" of my smartphone. Here are some of the obscure sights that I cataloged that day.


Rhonda Steelman
04/19/2014 6:39am

Loved your springtime stroll!


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