On my way to Hélène Cixous's first seminar of the year at the Cité Universitaire yesterday morning I walked to the Metro through the Luxembourg Garden which was empty, except for the odd person like me and a handful of joggers. The sun hadn't been up for long, the tops of the chestnut trees were still gold, the limes lemonier, autumn chrysanthemums gold and purple. Buttery leaves round the trunks of trees, more of them marshalled into wire pens where, later in the day, coming home, I saw gardeners raking them into trucks to be taken away and turned into compost, I suppose. Very cyclical. The trunks and branches of trees showing black through the remaining leaves.
The café beside the bandstand on the eastern side of the garden, Pantheon side, was closed, but the tables were lined up, two chairs per table, all facing southwest towards the setting sun.
Then I was out the east side and down into the Metro and up again in the Parc Montsouris, a wilder, less groomed Paris park. And into the Cité. The seminar was full, old friends, people I don't know, Emmanuelle Riva was there, dishevelled like us all so early in the morning, before we've had time to wet the backs of our heads and tame night's cowlicks. And the seminar was wonderful, a digressive riff on Rousseau, Genet, Shakespeare and Derrida. Sadly it's the only one I'll be able to attend this year. They are one of the things I miss most about living in California for a large part of each year.