There was a time when I thought a great deal about the axolotls. I went to see them in the aquarium at the Jardin des Plantes and stayed for hours watching them, observing their immobility, their faint movements. Now I am an axolotl.
I got to them by
chance one spring morning when Paris was spreading its peacock tail
after a wintry Lent. I was heading down the boulevard Port Royal, then I
took Saint-Marcel and L’Hôpital and saw green among all that grey and
remembered the lions. I was friend of the lions and panthers, but had
never gone into the dark, humid building that was the aquarium. I left
my bike against the gratings and went to look at the tulips. The lions
were sad and ugly and my panther was asleep. I decided on the aquarium,
looked obliquely at banal fish until, unexpectedly, I hit it off with
the axolotls. I stayed watching them for an hour and left, unable to
think of anything else.
– Julio Cortázar, from "Axolotl", trans. Paul Blackburn