"I don't really know what happened," he said. "The moment I entered those gardens I was a man overwhelmed by a sense of living."
"How could a garden, just seeing a garden, make a man happy," the maid asked."
"And yet what I am telling you is quite an ordinary experience and other people will often tell you similar things in the course of your life. I am a person for whom talking, for example, feeling at one with other people is a blessing, and suddenly in that garden I was so completely at home, so much at my ease, that it might have been made specially for me although it was an ordinary public garden. I don't know how to put it any better, except perhaps to say that it was as if I had achieved something and become for the first time, equal to my life. I could not bear to leave it. The wind had risen, the light was honey- colored and even the lions whose manes glowed in the setting sun were yawning with the pure pleasure of being there. The air smelt of lions and fire and I breathed it as if it were the essence of friendliness which had, at last included me. All the passers-by were preoccupied with each other, basking in the evening light. I remember thinking they were like the lions. And suddenly I was happy."
Quoted from The Square, Marguerite Duras, Grove Press, 1965.
Jardin des Plantes, September 1981.