How a Google Doodle made me cry

I had every intention of getting right to work this morning, but then I got trapped by the Google Doodle.

If you haven’t seen today’s Doodle, do yourself a favor and go to it right now. The Doodle commemorates the 151st anniversary of French composer Claude Debussy’s birth with an animation of a Paris evening set to his most famous work, “Clair de Lune.”

I’ve watched it a half dozen times in the last 15 minutes. It is, quite simply, lovely. The lights in the windows along the Seine flick on and off in time to the music. A small steamboat chugs out a puff of smoke periodically. A shooting star glides across the night sky. At the end, two strangers passing in row boats are drawn together. It begins to rain — because it is, of course, Paris, and what is more lovely than Paris in the rain. One of the boaters opens a small red umbrella, and they both shelter under it.

The romance of the imagery touches me, the painful beauty of Debussy’s music fills my heart. My mind is flooded with my own images of Paris, and I feel the overwhelming need to sit in a brasserie with a cup of espresso or a glass of red wine while I watch it rain. Or to watch “Midnight in Paris” for the 800th time.

So why am I writing about this on the work blog? Because after my teary reverie, my next thought was this: What if all user experiences were this delightful, unexpected, meaningful? Journalism sites these days rarely move me in anything approaching the way this two minutes of unanticipated joy did, encountered when I went on Google to search for a story.

All inspired by the birthday of a man who died 95 years ago.

It makes me wonder what kind of beautiful, significant, evocative things we could create through actual news with just a little imagination and feeling.