"Then he sold his ox, and kissed him good-bye on his nose."
—Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall and Barbara Cooney
This is one of my favorite farewells in all of literature. There’s zero sentimentality in the words or picture, but it’s the only moment of intimacy in the book. It punctuates the end of something for the ox-cart man and his family—the end of more than just everything they’ve made and harvested—and the start of something new.
Every time I come to it, I experience the sort of aesthetic arrest I’ve only ever found in the best works of literature and philosophy.