I have the impression that this isn’t the first time I’ve found myself in this situation: with my bow just slackened in my outstretched left hand, my right hand drawn back, the arrow A suspended in midair at about a third of its trajectory, and, a bit farther on, also suspended in midair, and also at about a third of his trajectory, the lion L in the act of leaping upon me, jaws agape and claws extended. In a second I’ll know if the arrow’s trajectory and the lion’s will or will not coincide at a point X crossed by both L and by A at the same second tx, that is, if the lion will slump in the air with a roar stifled by the spurt of blood that will flood his dark throat pierced by the arrow, or whether he will fall unhurt upon me knocking me to the ground with both forepaws which will lacerate the muscular tissue of my shoulders and chest, while his mouth, closing with a simple snap of the jaws, will rip my head from my neck at the level of the first vertebra.

So many and so complex are the factors that condition the parabolic movement both of the arrow and of felines that I am unable for the moment to judge which of the eventualities is the more probable. I am therefore in one of those situations of uncertainty and expectation where one really doesn’t know what to think. And the thought that immediately occurs to me is this: it doesn’t seem the first time to me.

Italo Calvino t zero, translated William Weaver October 1, 2008
Posted on October 1, 2008