My Canal Home

Maybe it’s because I’m Australian, or Aquarian, or something. But I find myself irresistibly drawn to water.

The banks of the Seine, the duck pond in the Parc Monceau, and now, the part of the canal I call home.

I didn’t grow up near the beach, far from it, but I did spend a lot of my childhood hours fishing for tadpoles in the local creek, or running under the front yard sprinkler on hot days.

I’ve always lived on islands, Australia, a big island, granted; then the Whitsundays, then the Bahamas. My job once involved traversing the Whitsunday Passage and back on a daily basis. Where guests feared the sometimes rough crossing I was enchanted by the power of the seas, to rise our little ferry up and throw her back down with an almighty, but regular, soothing crash.

These days when I run, the glassy stillness of water calms my breathing, energises me, and stills my racing mind.

Our windows overlook the skinny part of the canal just before it widens out into the Basin de la Villette. The other night, sleepless and restless I slipped into the living room, intending to read. I discovered that unlike the Eiffel Tower the canal is lit the night through, it’s cool dark waters and transporting bridges softened by the shadows of branches both real and reflected.

And I felt calm, and safe and part of something bigger than myself.

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