Paris woke up to shock and grief this morning, as the full extent of last night’s murderous attacks became clear.  For the families and friends of those killed, for those injured or traumatised by their experiences, the nightmare continues.  For those not directly affected, it was another day.  Public buildings, markets and the larger shops stayed closed but local bakers and cafés, corner supermarkets and boutiques opened as usual.  The attacks were scarily random and close to home, but life goes on.

This afternoon we cycled out to Vincennes, to get away from the impulse to keep checking the news feeds and to put spare adrenalin to use.  The roads were quiet but by no means deserted. In the Parc Floral, children kicked through the dry, autumn leaves.  People strolled the woodland paths and watched the geese on the lake.  A photographer arranged a newly wed couple against a background of woodland trees.  Life goes on.

Last night, as the dark news of the attacks started to come through, there was a spark of light in social media.  Hundreds of people responded to murder and unknown danger by offering shelter to total strangers, stranded in the streets, linked by the hashtag Open Doors.   People cooked meals and made up beds for unexpected guests.  Life goes on.

This delicate, autumn camellia lights up a shady corner of the park.  As a symbol of light in the darkness, it’s the best I have to offer just now.


‘L’obscurité ne peut pas chasser l’obscurité; seule la lumière le peut.  La haine ne peut pas chasser la haine; seul l’amour le peut.’

‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that’.

Martin Luther King Jnr.