The visitors drifted over to the office to see the
compressors and the pipe diagram. Sears walked around
the edge of the pond to the beginnings of the brook.
Some mint grew here and he broke a leaf in his fingers.
It was in the early summer but the sun was hot. The
sound of water and the broken leaf reminded him of
waking one morning with Renee. It was early. It was the
first of the light. She lay in his arms and smelled of
last night's perfume and of her own mortality, her
yesterday. Her eyelashes had been dyed black and these
contrasted with her blondness. They seemed quite
artificial. The beauty of her breasts was no longer the
beauty of youth and he knew that she worried about their
size. He thought this charming. Her hair was not long but
it was long enough to need some restraint, and she had,
the night before, pulled up her hair - he could easily
imagine the gesture - and secured it with a gold buckle.
He had not seen her do this but now he saw the gold buckle
and the hair it contained and the strands that had escaped.
He kissed the loveliness of her neck and caressed the
smoothness of her back and seemed to lose himself in the
utter delight of loving. It seemed, in his case, to involve
some clumsiness, as if he carried a heavy trunk up a staircase
with a turning.
The sky was clear that morning and there might still have
been stars although he saw none. The thought of stars
contributed to the power of his feeling. What moved him was a
sense of those worlds around us, our knowledge however imperfect
of their nature, our sense of their possessing some grain of
our past and of our lives to come. It was that most powerful
sense of our being alive on the planet. It was that most powerful
sense of how singular, in the vastness of creation, is the
richness of our opportunity. The sense of that hour was of an
exquisite privilege, the great benefice of living here and
renewing ourselves with love. What a paradise it seemed!