Living through a full year of weather and seeing all four seasons has been a surprise benefit of my extended stay in Paris. I never anticipated being moved by something so simple.
I arrived in March a year ago, when the cold, dreary winter was hanging on like a chest cold. This year, I was here for snow, which is more beautiful in Paris than anywhere I know, coating my terrace and the roofs of neighboring buildings, making my potted primroses shiver (though they made it through the worst, blooming hardily).
Friends said it was the whitest winter in years, but Parisians were undeterred and the snow melted fast from the streets and sidewalks, as if the mayor had ordered it to do so.
Then I went away for a week and when I came back it was full-blown spring, with yellow bursts of forsythia at every turn and white asparagus for sale in the markets. It's time to start an herb garden on the terrace and put my boots at the back of the shelf.