Probably apocryphal, but I recall a professor telling a story of Borges visiting the Sahara, taking a handful of sand, releasing it into the wind, and declaring something like “I have changed the desert!”
“I came across this book in a village on the plain, and I traded a few rupees and a Bible for it. The man who owned it didn’t know how to read. I suspect he saw the Book of Books as an amulet. He was of the lowest caste; people could not so much as step on his shadow without being defiled. He told me his book was called the Book of Sand because neither sand nor this book has a beginning or an end.”
He suggested I try to find the first page.
I took the cover in my left hand and opened the book, my thumb and forefinger almost touching. It was impossible: several pages always lay between the cover and my hand. It was as though they grew from the very book.
“Now try to find the end.”
I failed there as well.
Is the aleph, that place in Borges from which the entire world is visible simultaneously, anything other than an alphabet?
A man sets himself the task of portraying the world. Through the years he peoples a space with images of provinces, kingdoms, mountains, bays, ships, islands, fishes, rooms, instruments, stars, horses, and people. Shortly before his death, he discovers that that patient labyrinth of lines traces the image of his face.
The vague, living countryside, the moon, the remains of the day worked on me as well as the slope of the road which eliminated any possibility of weariness. The afternoon was intimate, infinite. (Jorge Luis Borges, the garden of Forking Paths)