someone from the central circulation desk comes to me at the children’s desk and hands me a book that belongs to one of the local elementary schools, mistakenly returned to us at the public library. it’s a biography of winslow homer. i glance through the first several pages, focused on the images. at page 21, i stop for “Art Students Copying in the Louvre,” which, like the other images in the book, is in black and white. i recognize the broad arch of the hallway, the endlessness of its length, perspective drawing it out to some wall in a far distance which may, in fact, be illusory, and the crowded paintings leaning out from the walls. i have been there before. it almost has sound. it almost has a scent. but one thing it achieves, for sure, this trip to the louvre, is color. brown, yellow, green, in a murk of shadows left behind by visitors many generations removed.
the color entering my mind is a train i get on and, which, in a flash, delivers me out of doors to a spot on the sidewalk just beside the high fence at the edge of parc monceau. i am there watching art students enter the gates. the day is bright. the louvre, as always, is dim. and everywhere, here and there, it is paris, paris, paris.