If you have read my blog consistently, or ever had a conversation lasting longer than about ten minutes with me, you have probably discovered that I make constant references to the Lord of the Rings, and oftentimes hobbits. This is mainly because they are awesome and part of my fantasy religion of life. I have also always had the mild suspicion that I am in fact a hobbit myself, due to my shortness, the fact that I have pointy ears, and my general sense of adventure and desire to fight scary monsters to save the world. Happily, I do not have a hairy feet. Regardless, this week placed me in view of scenery that brought these musings to the forefront once again.
The end of the school year inevitably means that goodbyes become more frequent, either just for the summer or until who knows when... My younger students will be taking a few months off, most of Paris will be running away on month or longer vacations, and some of my classmates will be returning to their home countries to continue on with whatever goals and dreams they may pursue. As a result, this week I was invited to not one but TWO farewell picnics at Champs de Mars under the Eiffel Tower. Both were for younger Swedish friends, both involved wine and dessert, though they ended up rather different affairs in the end.
Tuesday evening was a continuation of the pristine weather we have been experiencing this past week. Since the sun doesn't set until after 10pm, it is the ideal season for picnicking in the evening as the sky slowly dims and the Eiffel Tower begins to shimmer quite literally in the twilight. As I was approaching the lawn, however, I received a message that the group was seated near another red tower further down the green. Written in French, I assumed that this meant some sort of obvious sign or symbol that I could use to locate them, nothing of consequence but in a color I would easily see. I did not, therefore, understand that they meant another replica of the Eiffel Tower itself, painted red, and standing polar opposite to the real landmark. I was quite bedazzled by the anomaly and I even posted a picture on facebook noting that I was picnicking between the towers. But it wasn't until a good friend messaged me alluding to the TWO TOWERS of LOTR fame that I really put two and two together. I was resting between two pillars of symbolism, frolicking in fantasy. I think for a few magical moments, I had been transported to Middle Earth.
I was sincerely hoping I could relive this experience a few days later for the second picnic. Unfortunately, the rains finally came in and we were banished to a local café. Apparently there had been a lama stationed in front to promote a new quinoa beer, though regrettably I missed this delight. We eventually braved the out of doors and sat on a patch of green stationed under some protective trees, though I was left with the feeling that the gateway to the Shire had been closed for now. Farewell my friends from all different lands, until we meet again...