step back
sober attention

I pay attention when the edges of things become unclear.

Like the Rocky Mountains in the distance. If haze levels are just right, it's possible to glimpse a part-veiled outline of a high ridge that could be a cloud, or a cloud that could be a ridge. For that moment, you don't know what you're looking at. The image doesn't resolve itself, even though that's what you expect it to do. We expect things we gaze at to resolve themselves, or to slowly become something different, in a way we can't quite define.

With the Rockies, you simply continue driving toward, or away from, or parallel with the mountains, stealing glances at their tall reaches whenever the road permits. The weather you're driving through down here on the flats can be entirely different to whatever's going on up there, whatever it is that's making the sky so hard to differentiate from the land.

A few days ago, I lost control of my drinking in a way that scared me. I couldn't recall what I had done or how I had reached such a state. Total loss of consciousness equates to total loss of control. The body and mind are steered by something beyond themselves, something that you can't reckon with or ask directions from, or negotiate with after the fact. It's something that has always been there for me, the outline of which I've been able to trace at various moments to varying degrees, but never before have I felt it, nor its ruinous, un-ecstatic potential, quite so deeply.

After we washed and changed the bedsheets, I noticed a small, pincered insect making its way determinedly across the pillow. I had to turn the pillow over repeatedly as I carried it outdoors, watching the bug clamber first over one side, then the other, heading in a single direction but really not traveling at all by its own volition, though travelling a comparatively huge distance without realising, because I was carrying it to the garden.

After the bed had been made, I sat silently on the back porch listening to a perfectly tuned set of wind chimes and thinking about how I would love to record them, turn them into something else. During storms, they clang together like tuneful bells on a ship.

Recording is a form of paying attention and encouraging others to do the same, though I think it can also be seen as an attempt to bottle stuff that shouldn't always be bottled. That's how I often view photographs, as attempts to trap moments that vanish as a direct result of the attempt. When we try to preserve a feeling indefinitely, it sours. Any forms that are preserved are not the moment itself, merely gauze that's been placed over whatever it was you wanted to retain, a shape full of holes.

On my lap; the dog we're looking after, tiny and loving and with only one working eye. The eye she can't see through is clouded and shrunken, the result of a kennel brawl in early life, an injury nobody seemed to have witnessed first hand. Now, she looks out at the world through her left side, blood vessels still working, the pupil still flexing with each unpredictable shift of the light.

Colorado Front Range 290823