We spent a clear, cold and sunny day in the Luxembourg Gardens with the girls and the baby who are visiting us for Thanksgiving. Just in case you didn't get the memo, he's the most adorable baby on the planet and he thinks I'm pretty cool too.
There's a melancholy beauty to the gardens this time of year. The art students sketching the Medici Fountain are bundled in warm coats and mufflers and when they get up they shuffle through piles of fallen leaves. Only a few chairs are occupied by people turning their faces to the sun to get what may be the final rays of the year.
The café tables are abandoned; no one wants to sit in the windy shade.
The urns along the walkway are filled with bright autumnal flowers cascading over only one side of the urn and reminding me from a distance, bizarrely, of Hawaiian kings' feather headdresses.
I was stopped by a young woman asking me if I was familiar with the area because she had come across a cat hanging out in the garden and wearing a collar. She didn't recognize the identification on the collar and she wondered if it was far from home.
The collar read "Le Rostand", the name of the café just across the street from the eastern entrance to the garden. He was in his own backyard.
And when I'm asked if I miss my own figurative backyard I sometimes point people to this place on the route between our apartment and the Luxembourg. I am at home.