Having shrugged it loose so long ago—having lived in peace and plenitude forever, having eaten manna in the morning and sipped ambrosia in the evening, having enjoyed the pleasures of young friendship and the raptures of young love (and even, as of late, having enjoyed the two commingled together into a hitherto undreamt-of cord of paradise whose strength and purity could draw you up to heaven like a guppy on a fish-hook), having smiled with well-earned magnanimity as the steak of life had sizzled and grown juicy, having held the one you loved upon your arm and looked into her eyes and beheld and re-beheld the stories that you’d lived and grown to love together, having grown until your hearts had braided themselves together like two vines, having left behind bad dreams, and even rumors of bad dreams—though not through flit-eyed, incomplete repression but by the virtues of pure luxury and well-deserved, good-hearted living, having nothing but the utmost balance in every measure of your life, having loved one’s children, one’s grandchildren, one’s great-grandchildren (and so on), having given them a life that was still more joyful, jubilant, and riper in its opportunities than even yours had ever been—no easy feat!—and having settled in, and kissed your wife goodnight beneath your soft, warm sheets, beneath the peaceful summer sky—having listened to the selfsame gentle summer rain outside your window a thousand times without your ever having grown tired of it, having let it lull you into peaceful, dreamless sleep, having felt the joy and love and happiness within you fill your heart with a warmth that, beneath the layers and the layers and the layers of all conscious and unconscious thoughts and emanations, you were sure could never fail, even a single time, having exhaled slowly, in complete contentment, knowing that you were never once alone, that you had never been, and having at last—too soon!—let them carry you, like angels, to that distant country that you’d never stopped believing in, past the horizon to the land beyond the summer moon, to that region which is ignorant of calculation and adulthood, to that land of life and living light—at last no longer so remote as it had always been—having done all that, this must seem like some grave mistake.