In France, it is well known that the 1st of May is not only Labor Day but also a celebration of the flower Lily of the Valley. This tiny little flower with its white petals symbolizes the coming of spring.
My personal association with this flower is that it was one of the “porte-bonheur” or lucky charms of Mr. Christian Dior. It’s said that he sewed it to every costume that he wore. I myself am somewhat superstitious and agree with the French couturier that a herbarium may bring some color to our everyday.
For me, spring is a season for fresh flowers. I love having them around the house at all times. I love bouquets with seasonal tulips, azaleas, peonies, carnations, lilies. I’m not that good with flowers in a pot. My last “victim” was my little Christmas tree. It survived a month before I forgot to water it. Of course, three weeks later I remembered that there is another living thing in the apartment, besides my boyfriend and myself. My overcompensating nature decided to water it twice a week. To be honest, I’m not sure if it died of thirst or it drowned. Anyways, I mourned its death and decided against buying a pot in the near future.
The 1st of May also means that we successfully stayed isolated during lockdown for 45 days. I don’t know about you, but my Instafeed was full of cooking (mostly baking), yoga, or different types of HIIT exercises, people posing like they are doing their newly discovered hobbies. I applaud the influencers who tried to adapt fast and started from the beginning to post about our new reality. Those who stuck to their pre-Covid19 schedule were out of place and got publicly shamed. Like many others, I tried some of the trends du jour.
I started working from home a couple of days before the lockdown. I can easily say that I stay longer at work since I’m actually staying in my own living room. Without feeling the pressure that my train leaves 12 minutes after my workday is done, I can relax and finish the stuff I started. I find it liberating because now I rarely think about work after I turn off my computer. Usually, I continue to contemplate that one little task that I left unfinished, that one email that needed a reply.
Since I have 45 minutes more in the morning (the time I take my train to work), I started doing Pilates. I started baking more. I rearranged my apartment. I suddenly have more time to read. The thing that this exceptional situation taught me is a balanced routine that I would really love to keep after this ends. I don’t want to say that I like my life better, but I definitely needed some time to refocus my energy and reevaluate my time.
For I have recently moved to Paris, I slowly ran out of books to read. I had bought a couple from the lovely little “shops” next to the Seine. Today I got this idea. Well, it was not really “my” idea. A couple of months ago, one of my neighbors left a note saying that we can all exchange magazines after reading them. I need to specify that we have a small yard that one could not access from the street without having a key. So the plan was to leave our magazines in an unused mailbox accessible for everyone.
Today I wrote a little note asking my kind neighbors to share their favorite/least favorite books with me. I promised to take good care of them and return them in less than 2 weeks. I feel optimistic about the solidarity in our little community and am curious about the outcome of this experiment.