Leaving Oz

For a moment I wish to leave Oz, to travel to another place, another time, another world.

Acis and Galatea watched by Polyphemous
Acis and Galatea watched by Polyphemous

The place – Paris, France, the Luxembourg Garden, precisely, the Medici Fountain. The world of Max Parrish.

The time does not matter. It could be 1612, for this is when the gardens began, created by Marie de’ Medici, widow of King Henry IV of France and regent of King Louis XIII. Eventually the gardens became a paradise within Paris with its lawns, tree-lined promenades, flowerbeds, and circular basin upon which children and adults alike love to float their model sailboats. Or we might dial the clock forward to 1630 when the quietly beautiful Medici Fountain was built. Three hundred years later, the time could be 1921 when Ernest Hemingway and his new wife Hadley Richardson strolled though the gardens. And in the years to follow, they would go back again and again with their son to escape the confines of their small Paris apartment.

The gardens do not change much over time.

Luxembourg Gardens, Paris France
Luxembourg Gardens, Paris France

The image is quite lovely. I came across this scene seven years ago while on a trip to Europe with my thirteen year old son.

To heighten the visual experience, the image is cropped in Photoshop, then an adjustment or two is made to the lighting to add contrast and vibrance. The over-exposed sky heightens the surrealistic effect.

Luxembourg Gardens
Luxembourg Gardens

Moving closer to the fountain, we can better see the spirit Acis and his beloved, the sea-nymph Galatea (“she who is milk-white”). She returned his love, but a jealous rival, the Cyclops Polyphemus killed him with a boulder.

One more trick with Photoshop and the entire scene is transported into another world. A bit like Maxfield Parrish, I think, and a lovely escape from Oz.

Acis and Galatea, watched by Poly
Acis and Galatea, watched by Polyphemous
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