David and I leave our children, thirteen and ten, watching television in our rented house in Barjac, a village in southern France, to go hiking. They often fight like scorpions in a jar, but are best friends right now. “Bye,” they wave, eyes screen-ward. We don’t expect to be long. But after ten days of family vacation, we crave time alone together.
On the third morning of our vacation in Barjac, a small Southern French town, a car pulling a trailer bearing a plastic tiger, gorilla, and elephant drove around the square announcing a circus via megaphone. Delighted to see the French tradition of traveling circuses was resisting extinction, I dragged Zoë and Gabriel from the computer and my husband from his French horn. A blue plastic tent was set up in a field below the village. A llama, goat, and minuscule pony with a ground-sweeping mane grazed between the caravans.