The moment I touched ground in Paris, my friend Deborah took me to Place de la République to witness the revolution first hand. Nuit Debout is what they call it. I felt tired from the flight and overwhelmed with images of the Icelandic landscape of waterfalls and hot springs and endless arctic horizons that were still burned on my brain. Now we were making our way through a maze of people at Nuit Debout. There were different groups sitting on the ground with notebooks, debating and writing a new French constitution. Young people serving coffee and tea, a pop up library, a donation tent for refugees, a circle of youth dancing to techno music and then we came across the musicians, first the brass, then we walked by a group of woodwinds, and then a large number of string players all huddled together. I turned to Deborah and she explained that tonight they had called for players to join in the orchestra to play in the square at 10pm and here they were rehearsing quickly. Strangers with their instruments coming together because of a Facebook post! She said that each night was something different, and the last time she was there it was filled with painters and artists...tonight it was the symphony. As we walked, she talked....translating the signs, translating the voices speaking to the crowd, the whispers in the circles, the cards with photos of lost ones from the recent terrorists attacks. I snapped photos and cried.
After a small dinner in a Parisian cafe we returned to the square and sat among the hundreds of people who came out to listen to Dvorak's New World Symphony. There were young men perched in the trees, on top of the bus stops and as far as the eye could see. At first people were standing and it would be hard to see the musicians let alone hear them very well. But people were considerate and kind and it wasn't long before the first 100 rows of people in the crowd sat down on the street so all could see and everyone fell silent as the conductor stepped up on the pile of pallets with a flashlight in his hand, ready to conduct the orchestra. I couldn't believe any of it. As I looked around at the crowd, at the musicians, at the night sky I thought how beautiful if every revolution could be won like this, with music.
The following day Deborah and I visited Palais de Tokyo for the exhibit Double Je. We solved a murder and ate food and braided our hair and that evening I played my 9th house concert of the year in Iris and Renault's parisian living room and together raised over 300 euros for the International Rescue Committee. I ate a lot of baguette. Paris never disappoints.