This morning as I walked along the lakeshore, I fell in love with a wren and later in the day with a mouse the cat had dropped under the dining room table. In the shadows of an autumn evening, I fell for a seamstress still at her machine in the tailor’s window, and later for a bowl of broth, steam rising like smoke from a naval battle. This is the best kind of love, I thought, without recompense, without gifts, or unkind words, without suspicion, or silence on the telephone. The love of the chestnut, the jazz cap and one hand on the wheel. No lust, no slam of the door – the love of the miniature orange tree, the clean white shirt, the hot evening shower, the highway that cuts across Florida. No waiting, no huffiness, or rancor – just a twinge every now and then for the wren who had built her nest on a low branch overhanging the water and for the dead mouse, still dressed in its light brown suit. But my heart is always propped up in a field on its tripod, ready for the next arrow. After I carried the mouse by the tail to a pile of leaves in the woods, I found myself standing at the bathroom sink gazing down affectionately at the soap, so patient and soluble, so at home in its pale green soap dish. I could feel myself falling again as I felt its turning in my wet hands and caught the scent of lavender and stone.
in the middle of the formal gardens, laid out with fastidious symmetry behind the gray stone chateau, right at the center where all the gravel paths lead the eye, at the point where all the hedges and the vivid flower beds converge, is a small rectangular pond with a flagstone edge, and in the center of that pond is a statue of a naked boy holding a jar on one shoulder, and from the mouth of that jar a fine stream of water issues forth night and day. i never for a minute wanted to be nightingale or a skylark or a figure immobilized on the slope of an urn, but when the dogs of trouble have me running down a dark winding alley, i would not mind being that boy- or, if that is not possible, i would choose, like the great Walter Pater, to be one of the large, orange carp that live under the surface of that pond, swimming back and forth all summer long in the watery glitter of sinking coins, resting all winter, barely moving under a smooth, translucent sheet of ice.