February 25, 2008

My Circle of Trees

While I was on a study abroad in Paris in 2001, when I lived with a French family, I used to go to St. Germain-en-Laye, an enchanting town to the west of Paris not far from where I lived. I would walk in the grand park next to the chateau. There is a long promenade in the park - resting on the crest of a hill - which overlooks Paris from afar. At the end of that long path is a revelation. Or at least that is what it was to me. It is a circle of trees - a ring of perfectly planted trees. The trees have somehow, miraculously, grown in the same way and mirror each other almost perfectly. The first time I reached the band of trees, I was bowled over. It was so simple. But it seemed astonishing to me. Peculiar even.

Yesterday, Xavier and I went back there. I had wanted to since I arrived in Paris again (this time, to stay). They were just as marvelous yesterday as before. A circle is, palpably, a symbol. A symbol of plenty of things. To me, love. This may be my most starry-eyed confession, but when I came in 2001, I dreamt of bringing l'homme de ma vie to that place one day. To show him.

But then irony and reality always have their ways. Little did I know it would be a Frenchman to bring me back to this country and these trees - because he knew about them before I did, in the end. (And little did I know that I would be back rather permanently, rather mournfully to begin with...then rather increasingly more contentedly). So, he was less enthralled with my circle of trees than I would have liked, but I console myself by remembering he is French, after all.

TO BE NOTED: This little piece is so sappy. I have taken so much flack for it. The truth is Xavier was making fun of me the whole time. From the moment we started walking down the long path to the trees, he was mocking me with his derisive cultural comments (Americans, are apparently the only people who could be cheesy enough to think a circle of trees represents anything beyond their place in a garden). So that's that.

1 comment:

Julie said...


This is really beautiful. I really like the trees - and the picture of you and X - it's like you're movie stars. Joyce wants to go there someday too. So hopefully - you know we can make it there.

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