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!
From "Oh What A Paradise It Seems"
John Cheever

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