1 september 2010

'Careful of that brook: it breaks up the whole field. Mark it on your map.' Ah, I was to remember that serpent in the grass near Motril! It looked like nothing at all, and its faint murmur sang to no more than a few frogs; but it slept with one eye open. Stretching its length among the grasses in the paradise of that emergency landing-field, it lay in wait for me a thousand miles from where I sat. Given the chance, it would transform me into a flaming candelabra. And those thirty valorous sheep ready to charge me on the slope of a hill! Now that I knew about them I could brace myself to meet them.
'You think the meadow empty, and suddenly, bang! there are thirty sheep in your wheels.' An astounded smile was all I could summon in the face of so cruel a threat.

Fabien, the pilot bringing the Patagonian air-mail from the far south to Buenos Aires, could mark night's approach by certain signs that called to mind the waters of a harbour - a calm expanse beneath, faintly rippled by lazy clouds - and he seemed to be entering a vast anchorage, an immensity of blessedness.
Or else he might have fancied he was taking a quiet walk in the calm of evening, almost like a shepherd. The Patagonian shepherds move, unhurried, from one flock to another; and he, too, moved from one town to another, the shepherd of those little towns. Every two hours he met another one of them, drinking at its riverside or browsing on its plain.
Sometimes, after a hundred miles of steppes as desolate as the sea, he encountered a lonely farm-house that seemed to be sailing backwards from him in a great prairie sea, with its freight of human lives; and he saluted with his wings this passing ship.

'If you please - draw me a sheep.'

- St-Exupéry