Usually, when darkness falls, the world becomes muted in shades of gray. Colors become duller, shapes less defined. The din of life dies down and the earth is blanketed in blissful silence.
The opposite seemed to be the case in Strasbourg.
As night fell the colors of the town became more vivid and vibrant. The blue sky deepened to a rich sapphire, the honey-hued bricks of the buildings glowed in the amber light of street lamps. The red tents crowding the main square no longer distracted from the beauty of the streetscape, but seemed to add to it. Indeed, they now beckoned us to come closer, to join in the festivities and indulge in the libations. The air was tinged with the heady aroma of warm spiced wine, fruit filled crêpes, and roasted chestnuts.
Streets that had been relatively empty suddenly filled with eager revelers, whose laughter made a joyful noise.
Small details that had been overlooked suddenly came into sharp focus. I noticed an old street sign, a black silhouette against the sapphire sky.
My senses were overwhelmed with delight. I sipped the wine, ate a crêpe, listened to the laughter.
For a moment, I became a splash of color on that remarkable palette.