There is nothing like Paris in the Spring. The trees along the boulevards all trembling in the fresh spring breeze. The cleaning crews washing down the sidewalks in the cool Paris dawn.
The sidewalk cafés at sunset with the crowded tables under the gay awnings. And the Paris nights, flamed with neon and bright with music spilling out of the gay cafés.
The great gray stone buildings along the Seine. The late afternoon smash of cars and little square red taxis along the Rue Royal and the Champs-Élysées. The trim Paris police in stiff caps and blue uniforms twirling the traffic along with white batons and amazingly even tempers.
The parade of sleek ladies with clipped poodles. The breathtaking swirl of traffic around the Place de la Concorde. The gleam of silver and white cloth in the great restaurants. And the flavor of Normandy sole and fresh water cress. The wines of Vouray and fresh strawberry tart and French coffee. And the fragrant apple brandy of Calvados.
Stanton Delaplane. From The Little World of Stanton Delaplane (1959)
A stunning four paragraphs, rivaling or surpassing Hemingway. I’d like to think I can learn by example. But Delaplane’s descriptive power is something unapproachable. It’s magical. I say that out of admiration and not out of jealousy. Delaplane never went to college or took any writing courses. His talent reminds me of the last scene in Dr. Zhivago. Do you remember it?
Gen. Yevgraf Zhivago: Tonya! Can you play the balalaika?
David: Can she play? She’s an artist!
Gen. Yevgraf Zhivago: Who taught you?
David: Nobody taught her!
Gen. Yevgraf Zhivago: Ah, then it’s a gift.