“Its only a lizard,” he muttered to himself desperately, “only a lizard.” The quick rhythm of the phrase only served to accentuate the beat of his heart and drive him further on. He walked a long way from the olive-grove, stumbling against roots, giving sudden nervous leaps. Finally he climbed up a tree, tame and safe as it was, and rested there with closed eyes till the pain of fear had died away from his chest. He clung to the tree, wanting to remain in it all day and not tread the dangerous earth again. 

He had come to this place, some months ago, with great hopes. After the persecution of the city demons, it had opened before him like one of those unexpected streets, broad and quiet, where there is a clinic and a blue cross and no noise is allowed; a place to lie down, or simply stand still.

He had pictured his arrival in detail: as soon as he left the houses behind him, there would be an instantaneous change, like entering water, a new element. There he would find grass, miles and miles of it. He would lie in it, rise and stretch out further on, without stop or choice, for the grass would be the same everywhere. The earth would be smooth and brown and smell of potatoes. There would be a few white stones to play about with. And by the sea, a small pool of water, green, blue, yellow, making liquid circles around him; at the bottom a stretch of pale sand for his bare feet. Then back to the bare expanse of grass and light, the sunny platform where he would lie for hours on end, no threat behind him, only his light indolent shadow at his side, waiting without haste for the next unimportant move. That was nature; that immobility and that uniformity.