Rings of Fire, Water, and Earth

Part I: Fire

They say never judge a book by its cover, but I did. About two weeks ago, I finished my first French book here in France! Okay, it wasn’t a book, it was a play, but still! I felt like a real French person. I went to the library, I checked out the book and then I read it. And it was amazing.


The book had fire on the cover and a picture of books. It reminded me of Fahrenheit 451, which is one of my favorite books of all time. If you haven’t read it, you must! Anyway, I found out why the play reminded me of Fahrenheit 451. It was inspired by it! The author even gives Ray Bradbury a nod by having one of the characters comment on the similarity between plots. Here’s the basic premise of the play. There is a war and, entering the second or third winter of the war (I forget), it is extremely cold. The other resources have been used in the war (oil, trees, etc.). The only thing that remains? The combustibles.


Three characters. A teaching assistant, a student and a professor are holed up in apartment. They argue about burning the books to save themselves and enter an interesting philosophical debate, would you burn some of the few remaining intellectual and cultural artifacts to save yourself? If so, which books would you burn? Which would you preserve?

It’s a fascinating book and if you have the chance to read it, you should! I don’t know if there’s an English translation, but look for it. It was good.

Part II: Water

The boat created waves that lapped against the metal hull in a soothing rhythm. In one of the most relaxing experiences of my time abroad, I went on a boat ride on the Erdre River here in Nantes. It was a trip sponsored by the international student organization and I am so glad I signed up for the organization. They offer so many wonderful opportunities.


The Erdre is a beautiful river and today was a beautiful day. Not a single drop of rain. On the shores, people were walking along a path. Some were admiring the flora, some were admiring the fauna…all were enjoying the peaceful atmosphere of the river. There were people sailing and rowing on the water. It was such a nice day.


There are many chateaus along the river and we only caught a glimpse. I am surprised how close these chateaus are to Nantes and am now tempted to do some serious exploring!


Part III: Earth

Last night, I went to the store and bought a bar of dark chocolate for 0.40 euro. It was the day after Valentine’s Day. I had good timing and I seriously wanted, no needed, chocolate. It had been a rough week. Two tests…that were two hours each! What were they on? French grammar. Oh, yes, I needed that chocolate.

From a previous adventure, I found a hill that gave a great view of the Loire River and of the city of Nantes. I took my bar of chocolate and a friend up that hill. There, we saw the lit rings that line the Loire River. They are certainly unique.


We ate chocolate and talked on a park bench. It was a cool night, but not chilly. It also wasn’t raining, which was a plus. There was a patch of the sky where the clouds had parted. There, in that black hole in the midst of gray, I could see a few stars. They were dim compared to the stars in the clear Northern Maine sky, but they were stars.

There are many things I know in life. I know my name. I know that the Earth spins. I know that Tuesday comes after Monday. I know that the universe is vast, but I have no concept of how vast. It is truly amazing to think that I am just a speck in a swirling cosmos.

But these thoughts are far above me and now I must return to the firm ground of reality, where homework and daily tasks await.