Philippe, my beautiful fish, has died. He was an excellent fish. Very personable and engaging, he'd come out of his underwater bottle home to say hello to whoever walked into the kitchen. He was getting old. I got him 2 1/2 years ago, rescued from a Walmart shelf where his brothers were mostly already dying in their little tupperware cups.

It's not just the death of a $3 fish, but perhaps the end of an era that's got me feeling nostalgic. I bought him when I was newly obsessed with ice skating, street theater and sufism. I was re-learning French and preparing for a grand trip to Paris. I was in love with the sea and the sky and the places where they meet, and just starting to paint for the sake of painting again. It was an exhilerating time.

Peace to you, little buddy.