The following is an example of Field Writing, which is the literary equivalent to plein air painting; one goes outdoors to write from the environs.


The sun’s obtuse angle has gilded the rural hills in gold. It’s the photographer’s “magic hour,” when the world is lit in twilight colors: darkest darks and lightest lights side-by-side, when fuchsia reds and rare violets are consumed alike by advancing gray. An afternoon rain has left its scent on the air, but the overcast has broken and few clouds remain. The high plains where Crazy Horse learned war ripple up into the blue-tinted Bighorn range. Above, the remaining clouds are hemmed in silver fire.

Steam from a coffee drifts up from the red deck boards by my feet. The flat screen is muted with the sun behind it, and the unreality of the symbols thereon is brought to mind. What passes here passes like ghosts pass. Yet it’s not so unreal in a world where all impressions pass like this.

We’re all participating in perception–this great river of ghosts–from the finch flying overhead to the white gnat that landed by my feet, the clouds, the sun, the author and the reader, the reader within the author, and the author within the reader…Now, the rain puddles on the deck catch reflections of the sky.

So it’s all complicated. Ockham’s Razor is a fallacy. It’s never the simple hypothesis. The reality (the perception of perception) is always more complicated than the most contrived or outlandish of fictions and fantasies.

Take, for example, how many blades of grass are out there on the high plains. Take also the uncountable water droplets suspended in maddening patterns in the silver evening clouds. The amount of reason needed to account for this all is greater than can fit in the cranium of the human animal; one is tempted to postulate an almost infinite amount of reason is needed to account for it, and an infinite amount of reason might be equal to insanity.