Once, a long time ago, when the earth was old but Serbs were still young, men and women and everyone in between thought that water was God and they prayed to it fervently.
The newspapers are, sir, blight, disorder of the first order, just like everything that’s printed; but I tread all over it.
Natsume Soseki (1867-1916) wrote a number of zuihitsu (literary essays) about his pets, of which “Buncho” (1909) is the most delicately crafted. It is the story of a caged bird that was brought to the writer as a companion in his lonely study, but which in the end died of neglect, despite the initial attention it received.
Thirty years ago, when she was first here with her husband and two young children, they’d come in the summer—June—so that Otto could teach a study abroad course, and the city then was a lush racket of color. The pale blue and pink and gold ornamental bric-a-brac of Belle Époque architecture. Stoops cluttered with terra cotta pots spilling herbs. Window box gardens bursting geraniums the startling florescent red of she-didn’t-know- what. It was all exactly as she’d envisioned Paris since she’d first wanted to go as a sixteen-year-old sitting in a high school French class.
Hope misses the city, and I miss Hope. So every other weekend I buy a bottle of wine and drive up the valley to see her and Little Girl in their new suburban home, where they live with Hope’s boyfriend, a pilot.