(He) suddenly recalled a passage from the memoirs of a French philosopher. She had been shocked by what a woman had said during the war: "After all, the war doesn't alter my relationship with a blade of grass." She probably reckoned that this woman was frivolous or indifferent. But for him, Daragane, the phrase had another meaning: in periods of disaster or mental anxiety, all you need do is look for a fixed point in order to keep your balance and not topple overboard. Your gaze alights on a blade of grass, a tree, the petals of a flower, as though you were clinging on to a buoy.
-- So You Don't Get Lost in the Neighborhood by Patrick Modiano