I cannot say that I’ve ever been in a pond. I’ve been at a pond, but I do not know that I have ever had the courage (or stupidity) to wade into one. There is so much about ponds that dissuades entry by land creatures. But I have told you so much about that already. (I do not know what to paint! I cannot address the issue of painting because my fear of the absence of knowing what [or why!] to paint is powerful and obliterative of casual reflection.) We were not allowed, I think, to go to the pond that was at the bottom of the neighborhood I grew up in, it was in a valley in the flatlands of Michigan, and all of Michigan is flatlands, with hills that are little but big enough for children to sled down in the wintertime, this neighborhood was called a “platte,” which, obviously, rhymes with “flat,” but it was not totally flat because there was a valley, where there was a pond. We were not allowed to go there on our own, I think (I think! but we did all sorts of things we weren’t allowed to do because we could, because we were not supervised, we were let out of the house on summer mornings and made to return at dinnertime, so probably we went to the pond if we were so [dangerously!] inclined). Sometimes my father took us there so we could catch turtles, because we would have a sudden mania for catching turtles, and then we would race the turtles, I think they lived in shoeboxes thereafter, and probably their lifespans were greatly reduced—. In fact, I am sorry to all the turtles I condemned to shoeboxes, and to the caterpillars and lightning bugs and butterflies (butterflies!) I condemned to jars, and I am especially sorry to the caterpillar I shoved into the back of a Matchbox ambulance, an ambulance, let me tell you, that did not deliver him to greater health, it was his Hearse, I could not get him out, that was the summer we had a mania for Matchbox cars, my friend collected them, I did not. When we went to the pond to catch turtles, we did not go into the pond, except I bet our canvas sneakers did, I bet they squished with pond water in our attempts to catch the turtles, they were little turtles with orange markings, we would race them on the concrete of the driveway, the driveway was half-concrete, half-asphalt, asphalt at the bottom, concrete at the top, the house I grew up in was in a neighborhood that was built in the 1960s over what was probably once a cornfield. If it was never actually a cornfield, it definitely had cousins who were cornfields. But I think it was a cornfield, because the single one old house in the neighborhood was a farmhouse, this was where our milkman lived, I would sometimes find him in the kitchen in the morningtime delivering milk, isn’t that something? The wind and sky had big presences where I grew up. There is a photograph of my father in the newspaper, dating back to the 1950s or early 1960s, he was a civic-minded young man, he is presiding over a turtle race with youngsters, I do not know who they were, and my father, a youngster himself, is smoking a pipe, he looks like a boy smoking a pipe, in those days the young adults were in a hurry to be adults, unlike in my time, when young adults insisted on remaining so, at least attitudinally, until well into middle age, I am not sure this has served us well. I believe I could go on forever telling you about these things, because the memory of them, and then the calling them to the surface and bringing them briefly back to life with descriptive words is almost like being there again, and it is very pleasant for me to be there again, I could indulge in this undertaking for a lot longer than I’m going to. It is so pleasant, I am saying to myself, maybe I should write a book. So you see how you have gotten lucky today, I am only giving you a paragraph to read, not a book. But the way in which you are unlucky is this: I consider this my book. Here is a way in which you are further unlucky, related to the first unluckiness: Because of the disjointed nature of the format of this “book,” I am under no constraints to joint it, as it were. This paragraph is a good example of a pell-mell style born of very few constraints. Incidentally, turtles, when they are on the racetrack, do not stay to their lanes, ever.