In the beginning, he saw all life as sacred – each flower, each leaf, each cloud as a piece of art, a thing to be cherished. The oafish cries of the street, the chatter of crickets in the grass, the lament of a sunset gale were as music to him, sheet upon sheet of mystic staves – a concerto of dark notes in scriptural order. Each in its place.
Somewhere – where? – in the honeycomb of succeeding years a change was wrought. He had not means to say when or how it occurred, at which door to which opened closet of secrets, at what turn of season, what strike of bright lightning, what felicity of breeze. Somewhere some vicissitude of fortune made the first cut that sliced the dream asunder, that split open flesh and eviscerated holy love.
Where was he then – through which window did he first perceive a world in grey – when did he witness color die? When did he begin to quantify, to discriminate by degree? How did he learn to ascribe to each holy of holies a value for its perfection, a cost? Thus by its size and its welfare this flower is of greater excellence than this, or this face flawless by comparison with this. Such a voice will jar with him, and such another sing. When and where did he learn to pass judgement upon perfection?
He mourned this loss more than any other – innocence. The virgin joy that finds everything of equal beauty, not to be graded or examined, once tarnished can never shine again. At last as he wove his way through his labyrinthine conscience uprooting this, discarding that he was little more than a gardener and his world no more than a cold and cultured thing. Neither bird nor bee can tend his arid plot, and in the last judgement of time nothing grows. The field he leaves the world is a field of weeds.