By Michel Serres, Genevieve James, Raymond Federman

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Which cordage shall I loosen today? Yes, holiness is to fly. I wanted a sailor for this gesture which he can do and always knows how to do with emotion. To cast off. Have you heard sometimes the sound of a horn when a ship is getting under way? That little sob in the blindness of dawn? To cast off from the wharf, the port, the city, the walls and all the stories of envious and competitive men, when one's skin shrivels in the cold, to withdraw from the earth in order to rely on the wind. I wanted a sailor because a sailor flies.

He who holds it in 45 Detachment his hand can descend into Hades and speak to sallow shadows without fearing for himself the dead's ghastliness. He keeps the fountain of life, the secret, the essentials of life shown on the tree of life. This tree is birth and rebirth, germination in plants, parturition in women, growth in living beings, genetic heat in males-the burning delight of coincidence. The golden bough is green of springtime's hope, even in winter, red as autumn, golden as summer: it is the good life, full of goodness, the only goodness, the first sowing of all goodness.

May God protect me. 27 Detachment A shy little old man-he died last year-he lived in an old house in Le Mouleau among pine trees, three hundred yards from the sea. I never saw him go aboard a boat, even inside the natural harbor. He was like a cat fearful of water. The young sailed pleasure boats and loved picnic navigation. They had the appropriate vocabulary and clothing. You see them in the harbor by the hundred nowadays, never leaving it, holding a small anchor in their hands. They look like sailors even more so than the real ones, these jokers.

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