On Not Observing Nature

Even the unconscious eye can learn some lessons from natural objects

I do my writing while sitting in a living-room chair with its back at an angle to a picture window. The midsummer morning light strikes my legal notepad. August has slipped in like a lover. Every once in a while I turn toward the window and see, over my left shoulder, a tall pine tree that has split into two trunks at its base. The dead lower branches have been severed, leaving large tan coins on the bark. But the tree flourishes near the top in an array of green fans that rise and fall like a queen's hand. All shades...

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