Unter den Linden July 11, 2019 August leaned back into the linden and tried to understand. Was it really his fault the world no longer cared about clockwork? […] was beauty subject to fashion? He did not understand. What was a life? One day his father opened the back of a watch and showed him the wheels inside. Was that his life? A bird inside a funny paper man, the boats in the picture that suddenly began to move, a perspiring musician in a drab green tent–were these the secret signs of a destiny, as intimate and precise as a watermark on a postage stamp? Or were they merely accidents, chosen by memory among the many accidents that constitute a life? He tried desperately to understand. Had it all been a mistake? His art was outmoded: the world had no need for him. And so it had all come to nothing. He had given his life away to a childish passion. And now it was over. He was terribly tired. Sitting under the warm shade of the linden, August grieved for his lost youth. — Excerpt from the short story “August Eschenburg” by Steven Millhauser Linden blossom tincture from my neighborhood.