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Nice au soleil levant

Sunrise in Nice is un véritable spectacleMon petit café in hand, I settle into my well-positioned chair on the balcony to watch the gentle déroulement of events.

The choreography begins even before the scene is lit:  first, a lone jogger, her cadence as regular as the waves, then a small group of cyclists, spinning in unison.   The first light appears over the small peninsula that stretches out to meet the sea.  Suddenly, the few scattered people along the Prom take pause to savor the unfolding splendor.   Cell phones are poised to capture the magic, and a few photographers have taken careful positions to point their long lenses toward the explosion of lumière.  I too hold my breath.  It is a collective moment of silence, save the lapping waves, and the disrespectful traffic that is oblivious to this miracle.   

As the delicate glow expands to glorious radiance, the actors return to their various roles.    A couple at the edge of the water practices Tai Chi, paying homage to the brilliance of nature around them.   Then the baigneurs arrive on the scene.  They shed their protective clothing and one by one, they enter the chilly water to flow with the rhythm of the sea.  I am in awe of their dedication. Jour après jour they unite, regardless of clouds, wind or rain, to commune with Mother Nature. 

Savoring the last sip of coffee, I see a familiar man taking his elderly dog for his morning walk.  While there are many chiens out for their morning stroll, this one captures my heart.  The chocolate lab takes slow, painful steps, and the gentleman matches his pace without looking down.  They have a long history, and know each other well.  I wonder how many more walks they will enjoy together, and silently wish them une belle journée.  

It is time for me to enter the stage.  Am I an actor in someone else’s show?  I step into my sneakers and head down to the famous Promenade des Anglais, the “Prom”.  People have come from each quartier and the show is in full swing.  I walk behind the people seated in the iconic “chaises bleues” and smell a fresh croissant that makes my mouth salivate.  A scooter whizzes by, the businessman dressed in a neat black suit.  He is followed by a larger group of cyclists wearing bright blue jerseys.    A pilates group has settled in on the galets.

I dodge the many joggers, now in small groups, and smile at each of the French bulldogs, prancing as they try to keep up with their owners.  There is an occasional whiff of cigarette, reminding me I am in France.  My soul smiles at the old couple holding hands, and the man perched in stillness, meditating on the rocks.     Each performer has his own tempo, and each one is perfect.  As I walk along this boardwalk uniting  earth and sea, I notice that the sun holds me in its gaze, as it does with everyone else who has chosen to participate in the beautiful théâtre du soleil levant.  

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