The topography of Paris is fundamentally shaped by the Seine and Marne rivers. One could simply relate to them as physical aspects of the geography of the city… Yet, the rivers are also associated to the varying meanings that we attach to them and the associated feelings that come with those meanings.
While jogging this morning, I gained a new appreciation for how the rivers are part of a personal affective landscape of the city.
I associate it with romance, thanks to several walks along the Seine with my beloved. Yet, I also associate the Marne and Seine with energizing, revitalizing runs, exercise – and feelings of accomplishment, motivation, forward movement.
It is difficult to simply look at these rivers on a map and only see a topographical aspect of Paris. Instead, I project several positive affective dispositions onto these rivers: they are places of romantic affect, of revitalization, accomplishment, movement. The river becomes intimately tied to the very emotions I need to remain human when most of grad student life is sedentary and immobile.
I guess the rivers of Paris are a 242nd reason to be grateful for the experience of being here to study and live – they are an important part of what makes the experience of being here so rich.