He walked into the woods for the first time in months. It was a bright summer day but under the canopy of leaves it was cool and quiet and twilight. There was no sound but his footsteps, his breathing. Instead of an axe, his right hand clutched his notebook. His left was in his pocket. A pencil perched behind his ear.
He walked aimlessly until coming over a short rise he saw a stump. He recognized his handiwork in the way the stump made a kind of chair back—flat until the axe had gone through far enough, then a frayed edge like a torn page. Paul walked over to the stump and sat down.
He looked up and tried to find a pattern in the placement of the trees. There was none. They grew randomly, beginning nowhere and ending in the same place. A squirrel ran down one and up another for no reason. He opened his notebook and took his pencil from his ear but could think of nothing to write.
A crow called hoarsely to another, something important. Paul looked up but could not see the black bird in the leaves of the trees. He looked back down to the cream-colored pages of his notebook.
He was surprised that he’d written YOU CANNOT DISCOVER ART.