Excerpts from a Word Sketchbook:
5/1/86 - The splatters and drips of paint in modern art can help one appreciate the streaks and splatters from newly painted street and crosswalk lines. (Page 122)
5/2-The edge effect parallax-while looking through the glass of our sliding door I got a spectral edge followed by a full one. This is apparently caused by the parallax of seeing something first with one eye and then with the other. While landing in Denver the fields of pastel rectangles on the approach looked like the paintings of Richard Diebenkorn.
5/3 -The Crystal of Light can be seen quite clearly when a small symmetrical tree rotates in the visual field. Most people look at things in a haphazard staccato fashion but letting them rotate in the visual field extends the sense of movement and lengthens the visual melodic line. Long mesh fences are excellent for the Cusp of Straightness because one also gets an "op" effect of light passing through the mesh. My favorite power lines are on Dry Creek and Quebec near Denver-walk under them on the tribhanga path and see how they cross. (Page 81) The upper lines are darker than the lower ones: an illuminated tree through a fence or a slide seen through a fence. These sights combine Interstitial Vistas with the Edge Effects. Seeing a pole or tree through a fence-observe the Edge Effect of the pole on two cracks in the fence. When one eye is closed, first one Edge Effect begins followed by another while under the influence of Wonderizing. The first one continues on its course. But when both eyes are open, one begins followed by the other but the first becomes "spectral" because of binocular vision, i.e. one eye is seeing the Edge Effect while the other is not. When an Edge Effect is seen at a distance, this is not observable because the eyes' parallax is small. If one de-focuses the spectral edge effect is more pronounced because one is seeing double.
See cement sparkles through a mesh fence at sunset. There is a beautiful brownish-orange rusted power tower on Quebec right before the great power lines. I have seen the ultimate Cusp of Straightness so far-two parallel mesh fences leading to a baseball field at sunset: got the "op" effect of one fence strobing against the other, then the rolling up of the golden light as I approached the Cusp, the Cusp itself, and the rolling back down of the light on the other side of the Cusp. And then it was repeated with the second fence. The Crystal of Light can be seen better if one imagines the tree as being both its branches and the space they enclose. There is a scientific justification for such imagination since a tree feeds on the light it surrounds.
5/5 See the illuminated backside of a diamond stop sign as a Mondrian. The West has the best illuminated street signs because there are few trees to block the passage of light. Look for those fences that give one a cascading strobe. Looking at the space (light) around or between objects gives a sense of movement because the eyes are constantly adjusting to levels of light. Seeing the visual planes emerge as one drives up and over a hill is a bit like the operation of a rapid tissue section cutter or a thin slicer in the meat market. The boogeying light from Baggies' trash bags! A branch nodule on a birch tree in my mother's yard is the best arboreal "eye" I've seen so far. (Page 82) It looks like some kind of totemic animal-white bark, a thin oval of black, then a thin red oval, a black iris and an even darker pupil. Observed a small tree at about 15 to 30 feet move against an illuminated flag pole at about 50 feet at sunset: noticed the parallax edge effect as the twig moved across the pole. One can see the double edge effect best if one de-focuses a bit and goes slowly. Just walking by also gives the double edge effect but it is so fast one has to be aware of it. I think that helps explain some of the jumping when tracery moves against an illuminated flag pole.
5/6 - I walked by a coiled yellow rope wrapped around its pole in Stapleton Airport and it produced a great stutter (or staccato) strobe motion. Beautiful yellow, gold. and greenish yellow moss growing in Ogden, Utah. The scarred bark of a birch tree. Is there any bark more beautiful than that of a scarred, mossy birch? Leaves strobing against an iron fence and the late day sun on a field of wet goldenrods!
5/7 - As one dances with objects, enjoy how they pass from one "reality" to another, e.g. from behind a mesh fence to revealed: from behind a barrier to unveiled, etc. I can get a similar feeling while just standing in place by seeing a tree half behind and half outside a baseball backstop. When one walks down a street, stare down the cross streets and dance with the distance. A good Interstitial Vista-a 3 inch gap seen from between a telephone pole and a side cable at about 20 feet.
5/8 - Driving to Salt Lake Airport and watching the popping of the power towers as they rotate in my visual field, Actually they are staggered pops. beginning below and moving up. (Of course, the parallax effect also holds for Alpha Jive since it is a form of Edge Effect.)
5/9 - The ugly little church between Quebec and Yosemite has one very redeeming feature. Although it resembles a shingle mill, its steeple looks like a Matisse cut-out pasted against the sky. (Page 83) This effect is enhanced because the lines of the steeple are not perfectly straight but are a bit jagged and uneven. When looking at someone in front of a structure or architectural feature, it is interesting to view it not as background but as growing out of the person. (I now realize artists do this all the time.) I saw this in the Denver airport as a fluted column "grew" out of a standing man. Airports are usually great places for bouncing and interfacing lights, Edge Effects, and Alpha I live. Watch as lights bounce out from behind concourse signs.
The embedded light over the Midwest is apparently produced by the contrast between dry and irrigated land. The dryness produces the illuminated embedded effect within the greenery. The rivers and their fans look like giant fossilized leaves. (They appear to be dry.) Good examples of embedded light in some of the irrigation circles of western Nebraska-brown and cream patches intermingle. Embedded light can also be seen in Illinois and Indiana. I will have to re-think my theory about the contrast of irrigated and dry patches, although perhaps it still holds. The sensitive observer can become the re-creator of the artist's vision just as the musical performer re-creates a composer's work. A suburb outside of Indianapolis is laid out like some Paul Klee glyphs. Little clouds and their shadows and to stare hypnotically at this sight a la Georgia O'Keefe.
5/10 - back home. See the illuminated dark shadows of leaves against illuminated bark in the morning. Notice how many trees appear two-dimensional especially in backlighting. it creates a strange sense of unreality like some kind of stage set. Red gate at Terraset School I love thee. Thy triangles bleed with color. The light on a straight tree in a small clearing makes it look like a rock column. It's the contrast with the other shaded tree trunks. On some cars the light on the body reflects like tightly-packed gossamer wires. While under the influence of Rhythm Vision enrapture yourself on jungle gym equipment and see how the various structures at different depths orbit about each other in epicycles-the Dance of Ptolemy.
5/11 Observe how tree barks sometimes rotate past each other like ball bearings or gears greased by the sun. An Edge Effect of a pole against a broken line of ascending stairs at a local school. When the Edge Effect stops, the eye is suddenly released from its entrancement-hence the popping effect and the balletic movement away. On some crystalline days in Spring and Fall trees will look so clear that one seems to be in a giant dome of light. This is a mescaline vision without the mescaline. The eyes seem to be taking in more and are seeing from broader perspectives. The red fence admired yesterday-it doesn't appear to be made of metal but of some kind of bright laser beam or else something very soft. See the protean cells of light cast through foliage on paved pathways in the woods (Page 84) and the Micro-Edge Effects of trees against vines, saplings, and undergrowth. The Orgy of Maya probably enhances the experience of depth. Seeing the intersecting of objects that are physically at different depths must do something to the subliminal perception of depth.
5/12 -I am engaged in a form of visual scat singing. Nebulous vent holes of light at sunrise-the brothers of the winds.
5/13 - Very clear, distinct double-edge effect of a fence post against the white wall of a car tire.
5/14 - It seems the more involved I've gotten in the visual world the less interested I have become in movies. I'm making my own. Become a visual quidnunc.
5/22 - Morning light on the metal pipes of the Smithsonian sprinkler system. I am becoming more attuned to ambient sound. Learn how to be more aware of it, to interiorize it and to imagine the body as a fingerboard of vibratory strings which are energized by ambient sound. Become a being who feeds on sound. Sometimes the edge of a foreground wooden post against a metal post produces a plucked string effect.
5/23 - Backyard fence against chrome on the side of the front window of a car. The double edge effect is pronounced. It is not spectral but fully double. This indeed accounts for some of the jumping when tracery moves against an illuminated pole. Look up at an oak tree at midday and see the leaves transformed by transmitted light-thus the Fauves desire for greater luminosity.
5/24 -To become like a sapling-a tap below is effortlessly vibrated to the crown above.
5/25 - A patchwork of light on arboreal poles in the morning. Walk (edge) by and play their harp. The elements of the visual arts are more separable than those of music. Artists can abstract form, color, line. or volume but this is more difficult to do with the elements of music. Rhythm, melody, and harmony form more of a complex. Is this one of the reasons why modern music is less accessible to most people than modern art?
5/26 - Tremendous Edge Effect this morning-curvaceous boughs against a limb of light-one is the plectrum, the other the string. Dance with the strings of a basketball net and see their Micro-Edge Effects.
5/27 - Great bus window effect today. Looking forward to a window at a very acute angle to my straight ahead vision. Objects pop around the metal window bar and then are distorted by the glass.
5/28 - The parallax seems to account for part of the plucking of sign pole against sign pole. Gliding along this morning looking at Edge Effects like a submarine on silent running. The mystery of dark and light conjoining-morning light on people coming in and out of doors in the long hallways like souls coming in and out of lives.
5/29 - Kenneth Noland's inscribed colored upside-down triangles at the Museum of American Art. As one approaches, the painting is hidden by a pillar but then one gets a great Edge Effect-the almost instantaneous shift in direction as the eye moves down and then up as the pillar moves along the triangle edges. Normally I don't like to repeat these effects (love 'em and leave em) but this one was too much to resist. Two parallel trees at different depths. As one approaches them and the space between them narrows, notice the subduing of the light producing a kind of gelatinous effect. This is probably due to the parallax.
5/30 - Edge Effects render the ether almost visible. Observing strobe effects allows one to see how space and light are broken up and to sense them as "substances". One sees the parts of space, then when viewing larger scenes one senses the parts in the whole. Space and light become constitutive and creative in the edge and strobe effects.
5/31 - Sliver of light on a tree at about 50 feet-great Edge Effect as light greases the edge. allowing other trunks and branches to slide quickly down. Observed a black metal box with dappled light and leafy reflections. See the light cast by white tennis shoes illuminated by cars on dark streets-like kicking moon dust.
6/1 -The enveloping sky, the object and sky seen on the same plane. This helps increase the sense of depth because during normal viewing the sky is seen as extending from the object to the farthest horizon. Matisse perfected the two dimensional rendering of three-dimensional reality. It's a seeming paradox that seeing the three-dimensional world as two-dimensional also increases the sense of three-dimensions. I suppose there is a tension and release involved in this way of seeing. Matisse painted "frontally" because he sensed the invisible connections of objects in the three-dimensional world. The viewing of Edge Effects helps one to see this way. They are the visible reminders of the invisible connections. There is a sense of wonder and surprise as two objects that were visually rubbing together pull apart and reveal the space between them.
6/2 - After several days of mugginess and clouds went for a walk in the crystalline air. See how light seems to mineralize those parts of some barks (in the woods) it intensely illuminates. The mystery of a cave-like opening in the base of a tree. Sculptors like Naum Gabo have helped me appreciate the architecture of interior spaces. (Page 85)
6/3 - Driving to work with a friend at 6:15 A.M. Light hitting the roadside grasses and then flowing up like straws sucked by a god. The backlit columns of the Jefferson Monument produce wonderful Zipper Edge Effects. All this gliding, sliding, popping and plucking of Edge Effects at dawn. I have long reveled in the signs on Independence Avenue as I walk to work, especially those where the golden light slides down one side and then up the other. (Page 86) Also several cast red. orange, and pink reflections as I dance by them. See a sign as a cut-out pasted against the sky.
6/5 - An example of horizontal edge effects. I was standing on the side of a road watching cars come up over a rise and observing how the grillwork interfaced with the top of the hill.
6/6 - Once a year at this time light shines through an office window, forming a moving arched bridge of light as I pass by. The beauty of this phenomenon is heightened and made more poignant by its evanescence. This is my Mayfly of Light.
6/7 -1 felt very much this morning the immensity and rotation of the world as I walked and danced with objects, despite the overcast sky.
6/8 - Looking at one of my favorite trees from the vantage point of a baseball field and experienced what I can only call a seemingly paradoxical state of visual depth and emotional closeness. Actually the two feelings go together. To see things in depth is to accord them their space, hence to respect and admire them.
6/9 - Good fences make for more than good neighbors. Mr. Frost, especially if they strobe. I again saw the straws sucked by a god but in the meantime much of the roadside grasses had been mowed. I was about to echo Gorky's complaint when I noticed the beautiful scattering of light given off by the fallen stalks. Light is the medium in which we live and see and therefore we cannot get a perspective on it. In a sense it "sees" us more than we see it.
6/10 -A new phenomenon to look for-reflected Edge Effects. I noticed one of the bus's window bars moving against the reflection of an illuminated hand grip in the early morning.
6/11 - The day nears when my nonstop bus commute to and from work will end and I will have to take the subway half of the way. Prepare for this by observing people more closely. I watched a man walk about 40 feet ahead of me in the office hall and became intrigued with the jive flapping of his pants and the moving space between his legs.
6/12 -I know why the flapping pants intrigued me. They remind me of the undulating legs and space in the son with bowed snake in El Greco's Laocoon in the National Gallery of Art.
6/13 - Interfoliated light also produces the crystal effect because light is broken up into innumerable points like light passing through a crystal. Watch as the strobing of twigs and arboreal poles seems to vibrate them. Look especially for those with very high frequency vibrations, so high in fact that they shade into those that are not vibrating at all.
6/14 - Looking at a Micro-Edge Effect of a creeper at about 20 feet against a twig at about 50 feet in the early morning. As the leaves enter the zone of light given off by the twig, they seem to squeeze through and are compressed and distorted a bit. The Micro-Edge Effect is more of a blur than if the creeper and twig were closer together. Seen under these conditions a leaf becomes a malleable zone of color and luminosity rather than a stable object. And now three minutes later the light is gone from that space. It's great fun to just rock back and forth looking at the Edge Effect of a small trunk against an illuminated creeper.
Bounce the hood of one car against the window chrome of another. The reflections of wooden railings in a children's slide remind me of Picasso's bone-like bather paintings of the 1920s and early 30s.
6/17 - Could one paint or draw Edge Effects so that the principle would become very clear to anybody walking by? Yes, using Frank Stella's relief technique.
6/18 - Observed a dark-suited man walking down the hall about 40 feet in front of me. The light outlined him and he became a moving silhouette. The day of the subway approaches.
6/19 - Like the back of a black dancer, a light pole is undulated by the distorting bus window. If a distorted window can do it. so can 1.
6/20 - Of course, it is the parallax which accounts for the Dance of Ptolemy. Objects farther removed seem to move more slowly than those closer so as one walks by them they are continually changing their visual relationships with each other. Beautiful to observe this dance as one walks by a grove of Cherry Trees between the Washington Monument and Constitution Avenue. At the National Gallery I observed a statue edging against a pillar with a sliver of light and it produced a swelling effect on the statue. This verifies what I saw in the woods the other day.
6/21 - Sometimes one must close one eye to get a clear Edge Effect because when both eyes are open the effect is indistinct or absent. A basketball basket at Terraset School fallen into disuse because a temporary extension was built in front of it. But on this longest day, its rim casts a shadow like a ring of Saturn onto its facade. (Page 87) From now on watch its orbit decay.
Protean cells of light on the paved path in the woods -the combination of cracks in the path and leaf reflections within the cells gave the effect of Chinese calligraphy and bamboo paintings. I have always disliked shopping malls but perhaps I can overcome my aversion by getting involved in their visual attractions. They have some great window reflections. Alpha live and reflected Alpha live in which one letter sequence is continued by the reflection of another one.
Here is a good exercise for depth perception. Stand next to a relatively straight road and watch cars disappear. Imagine that the cars are stretching the elastic of the optic nerve. The late afternoon sun on the hanging remnant of a decaying leaf and then the light was gone. Looking at Giacomo Manzu's beautifully patinated bronze reliefs of leaves, stalks, and small animals has helped me appreciate fallen branches and decaying leaves.
6/22 - Cezanne said we experience primarily in depth. This might sound strange coming from the painter who collapsed the picture plane and helped overthrow perspective illusionism. but it is probably because he felt the power of depth that he did so. In the 15th century vanishing point perspective was a way of opening up the experience of depth but by the end of the 19th century it had been played out and only confirmed people's habit of taking depth for granted.
The trunk against trunk ball bearing or gear effect is more pronounced when seen with both eyes rather than one. Apparently the parallax is involved. Practice the Matisse technique. Look at a scene while keeping in mind what is behind and to the side (the panoptic stare). High school athletic fields are good places for Rhythm Vision -bouncing fences, "op" effects of mesh fences, fence pipes bouncing against other pipes and structures. Watch as small signs slice through space as one glides along under the influence of Rhythm Vision. In subdued light edge-affecting trees pull apart as if lightly glued or magnetized. Artists speak of rhythm to indicate the overall organization of a work, to describe a line, or even more metaphorically the relationship of colors. Seeing rhythm, however. is much closer to the actual musical experience. As objects appear, manifest, and pop out, they act like musical accents and given the unexpected nature of these appearances, one can speak of syncopated accents.
6/23 - Walked by a straight line of trees at an acute angle and enjoyed the popping out of space between them. This event combined the Cusp of Straightness and the manifestation of space. One of the best things about observing Edge Effects is that they sensitize one to space. After awhile, one begins to anticipate potentially good effects by noticing the space between objects. One begins to foresee.
6/24 - The darkness of a big tree in the cloudy early morning light and white blossoms blowing in front of me. I find myself looking more and more at things in a semi-trance state. Objects seem to breathe with me. There is nothing occult here. It is just that in this state of consciousness the visual and respiratory systems seem to work together. As ! walk in the woods, I bounce and jive the interfoliated light. The glueing or magnetizing of edge-affecting objects is due to the parallax. The subdued light followed by the popping out of full light accounts for the sensation.
Another way of increasing a feeling for depth is to notice eye-level perpendicular twigs. They are visual bridges connecting us to trees. Delight in the way these twigs rotate. Meditated on a dark blue garbage dumpster-like viewing an Ellsworth Kelly-and saw it transformed into a trembling mass of color.
6/25 - Observed a hinge crack in a door and some pamphlets behind it. Seeing interstitially makes one see double. Then looking at the grass through a space in a Henry Moore sculpture in the Hirschhorn Sculpture Garden, it seems to become a slightly distorting lens. It is not just a hole but a shape influencing what I see through it. Seeing double is involved in this sensation. Then I got down to ground level and looked through a space to the edge of the pedestal and started bouncing it against an illuminated railing in the distance. The radiant heat given off by the pedestal caused the Edge Effect to shimmer. Light is subdued and gelatinous when seen through a hole. One gets the same kind of effect when viewing the outline of a person against a background.
I walked outside after researching at the National Archives. The early afternoon light was extraordinarily pure and I was almost knocked over by the clarity with which I was seeing people. I felt I had to restrain myself from bugging a few of them.
6/26 -Enjoy the reflections in newspaper vending machines. As much as I thought I would dislike commuting on the subway, it is forcing me to look at people because I can no longer lose myself in the light and landscape outside a bus window. Several years ago I began to see human heads in a fresh way-their roundness, outline, and most especially their volumes and how they occupied space, but I had let that slide to concentrate on the nonhuman environment. Becoming more attuned to Edge Effects has led me back to the human form. (Page 88) I now look at heads and body shapes and relate them to their environments. "When Half-gods go, the gods arrive"? (Emerson).
6/27 - Dance with reticulated scaffolding in the early morning light, (Page 89) As I suspected, the swelling of a curved or protruding object intersecting an illuminated edge is due to the parallax. (l later observed that the swelling is caused by the flattening or compressing of a curved line passing over a line of light combined with the protruding of the leading arcs as they pass across the light. The parallax merely doubles the effect.) Night-the moving Harlequin Effect as cars coming over a rise illuminate trees and the seemingly more leisurely movement of porch lights over parked cars.
6/28 -Another combination vision. Watch a lateral V-shaped trunk and a branch edge against a strobing red fence-like a whale swallowing its baleen. This took place right across from my house but I had not noticed it before. How many interesting things lie right under our noses! (Page 90)
Watch how fallen branches on a sidewalk in certain positions seem to levitate as one passes by them. Walk through a corrugated tunnel and see the leading bouncing light, the peripheral strobes and a final Epiphany of Unveiling upon leaving the tunnel. (Page 49) Go past the side of the scaffolding of a soccer goal at a slight angle. See how a perpendicular bar seems to back against a horizontal bar and then makes a 90 degree turn when it stops edging. The Edge Effect gives the illusion of back motion when in fact the goal is turning in the visual field. When the edging ceases so does the illusion, thus producing that abrupt change in direction. On the way back home I went through the corrugated tunnel again and this time the light was perfect. The peripheral strobes were so strong that they seemed to carry my eyes and body forward. When I arrived home, there was a handbill announcing "Times Subscribers-You've Got the Edge".
6/29 - Although Alpha live resembles an electronic message board, it is better because the observer is not dependent on a mechanical contrivance and because of the parallax which, if one looks carefully, often doubles the letters as the edge passes over. This feature adds an extra dash of motion to the event.
Find an intersection where trees and signs pass over each other like caresses. Look through the concentric ripples given off by water bugs to the reflections of a tree in a stagnant pool of water. The deeper and more hypnotically one stares, the greater the movement seems to become because one is not blinking and is taking in a bigger visual field. See how a curved vertical bough seems to cut through space like a bow through water-one giving off foam, the other light.
6/30 - In painting rhythm is illusory just as depth is in vanishing point perspective. Only Rhythm Vision gives the real thing. Become entranced on a field of reeds and the moving shadows they cast on each other. See the light reflected from discarded cellophane. Watch as the triangular edge of a building moves down the edge of its shadow. See the rivulets of light as the sun shines on streams of hose water flowing down driveways. (Page 91) It seems that anything that can be seen, if it isn't completely inimical to the spirit, can eventually be loved. Dead trees bleaching, isolated and set off against the sky. I have made a lot of progress with my dancing and am working on a new kinesthetic technique-jumping to music and hitting the ground vibradancing. There is a correlation here. The looser my body becomes and the more spring and rhythm I get in my legs, the more I enjoy visual dancing.
7/1 - The temporary red slat fences around the Washington Monument were strobing so much in the overcast morning light that they seemed to de-materialize into pure flashing color. Despite the overcast sky, I was again seeing people with great clarity. In some ways this is even better than tree dancing. I believe it is due to the greater sensitivity to light and space I have developed over the last few years. I am seeing people in their luminous envelopments and not just as isolated 2 1/2 dimensional figures. I realize why artists turn towards distortions, exaggerations, and abstractions of the human figure when attempting to represent this kind of seeing. Conventional realism cannot convey its impact.
7/2-Cusp a bicycle rack at dawn!
7/3 - Corot must have been a tree dancer. How else could he have painted those blurred and diaphanous leaves? See how interfoliated light trickles over a drawn-bow trunk like water over a little fall. Notice how the curvature of some trees and saplings seems to make them move faster and more gracefully in the Dance of Ptolemy. An hour before sunset I seemed to see radiant energy from a tree l00 yards away. Can this be? Yes, these pulses are visible when seen in a small clearing where the contrast with the surrounding shade sets them off.
7/4-Notice how a blue flower seems to move faster against its green background than a green stalk without a flower. Contrasting color, just like contrasting form, influences the perception of motion while walking. See the subtle strobing of a cluster of cattails. Rhythm Vision heightens one's sensitivity to trees and plants blowing in the wind. See the rotating light on the base of a discarded beer bottle. A Manzu-inspired sight-illuminated brown leaves seen through a web suspended between two curvaceous twigs in the woods. Beebop the eyes against the promontory of a sinuous curb. The farther away the better. I looked just in time to see two embracing stalks of wheat grass pull apart and release their stored-up energy in a mutual vibratory dance. A towering dead tree whose two uppermost branches outline an O'Keefe cowskull. Rampikes are heralds of the sky's fullness, their bleaching skin and leafless boughs allowing the azure to completely surround and envelop them.
7/5 - Danced by a grove of trees and for a moment felt they had lost their moorings and were swaying like vines or trapeze swings-such is the entrancing power of Rhythm Vision. See a fully-illuminated pine sapling amid the shadows of the forest, with gossamer integuments no less! Stand under a gently wafting bough and become a pasha fanned by the leaves. Wonderize a reclining wheat grass against its neighbors and see the shadows spring up and down like a carnival bell-ringer. A driveway covered with calligraphic patches-see them in the late afternoon when they shine out of their darkness: also a crackled patch of oil-stained black asphalt-something Dubuffet would have admired. Bounce the rounded edge of a metal guard rail against a white street line.
7/6 - Notice the edging and strobing as a sapling or sign post passes over the white wall and spoked tire of a car, the rolling up of light as a dark trunk passes over a cluster of illuminated creepers. Dance with the interstice of a trunk and its slightly angled branch.
Learn to strut and vibradance to Ella, Lionel, and the jazz nobility and see what that does to your Rhythm Vision! The legs glide effortlessly through the woods: only the birds, insects, and footfalls are heard. The silence is disrupted abruptly by the concussions of a helicopter rotor. But while trying to make good my escape I come upon a beautiful cluster of iridescent green cattail reeds twisted like propeller blades. Would I have noticed them or appreciated their form without the presence of the circling police helicopter? To stare at these in a woodland clearing is to lose oneself in a shining and graceful world. The helicopter fades in my consciousness. This is strangely like the experience of two months ago when my awareness of funky guitar twangs and imaginings of the body as a fingerboard triggered perceptions of the plucked-string effect. Now I somehow unconsciously correlated the roar of a rotor with the shape of a reed. I have always been sensitive to intrusive sounds. Maybe this is one way of dealing with that problem. Open the bulkheads of the sensorium. The spell breaks and I am driven out of the woods.
7/7 - Rare sight at dawn, the brilliant white light and rotating aura of a street "Don't Walk" signal bereft of its cover and I don't. Walking across the White House Ellipse is the nearest thing in Washington. D.C. to experiencing the western Big Sky. Soak up this kind of immensity whenever possible. Westerners should not take it for granted.
See the jive flapping of interstitial light from between the limbs of a dark-suited man walking down a hallway. Walking around a corner, see a window pane edge against a human outline. As the person partially eclipses the window, notice how he is surrounded by a penumbra of light.
7/8 - An office building boom has hit Northern Virginia. There is a transient beauty when only their skeletons are up and the exposed light bulbs twinkle and pop while passing behind pillars and beams. Their distorting window reflections are their only other saving grace.
7/9 -Some more rare sights-a stutter (staccato) edge effect as one tree moves up another near the White House Ellipse. Is it the light, the bark, the shapes, or a combination which is responsible for this worthy phenomenon? Also enjoyed the strobing of a sign pole against a car's baleen-like grill.
7/10-See the morning light scintillate black fluted light poles around the White House Ellipse. I passed by the stutter strobing trees fifteen minutes earlier and in clearer light than yesterday and did not observe the effect. Apparently a quality of light is responsible. When a foreground object edges against one further back, it seems to partake of the latter's motion or direction and then when the edging ceases, it takes its own course, like an asteroid temporarily captured by the gravitational pull of a planet but then hurled into its own orbit around the sun. Observing apparent changes of motion and direction is another never-ending source of delight of edge-affecting. See how in the evening cars coming around a curve can send a shimmering light down a row of parked cars.
7/11 - This morning the beautiful Zipper Edge Effects at the Jefferson Memorial were followed by the sun's flashes between the columns. The light was right to see a steamboat wheel churning as two semicircular railings strobed each other on the steps of the Bureau of Printing and Engraving. (Page 92) Then I came upon the sensual White Pine across from the Department of Agriculture which when approached from the west opens her two isomorphic limbs most provocatively, an experience heightened and drawn out by the subtle stutter strobing of the light as it unveils her. (Page 93) Across from my house are two large trees about 50 yards apart. They imaginatively resemble Greek helmets. Moreover their mutually facing outlines seem to fit together like pieces of a puzzle. Reversing what I have done with the White Pine, I have spent many hours trying to visually draw them together. Viewing the works of artists such as Sam Francis and Morris Louis, who often leave the centers of their large canvasses blank and paint in comers and around edges, can help one see the relationship of shapes and colors across an intervening space. Like learning to do the splits, they help stretch and limber up the visual muscles and nerves. Or to use another metaphor, one develops the electrical potential between the eyes so that shapes can jump the gap.
7/12-Colorful absurdity-the back side of a blue Porto-John wedged between two trees, so close yet so far from the compost heap. A shining brown sewer mandala set off by a few delicate tar patches put down like strokes of impasto. How many "lucky" pennies have you found lately?-an indirect measure of visual awareness. A benefit of the high summer humidity is that the moist air captures light which shines like muted stage lights in the woods and between some of them can be seen the mysterious black light, the almost palpable shadow cast by a tree. See a fallen trunk with its shriveling leaves arrayed like sleeping bats strobe against illuminated greenery and also the viscous reflections in a fallen leaf, cupping water between its curling edges. The conditions were right to see light flash across one entire axis of a cellular manhole cover quickly followed by a flash at a 90 degree angle-my first experience with this type of Maze Effect. To walk down a sinuous tree-lined road at sunset and see on the horizon a Kandinsky sky of little flat gray clouds against pink and white-why does this affect me so? Equally mysterious are those humid ones that condense from the atmospheric nebulae. To be borne along on wings of rhythm learn to vibradance effortlessly to every note of a tune by a Caribbean steel band.
7/13 -To get an extra sense of motion in the Eyes Fulcrum, I de-focused as I walked down a sinuous road and saw both the trees and the center line. (Pages 50-51) Then as I bounced the interfoliated light, I realized that I seem to have stimulated some subliminal resonance that puts me in this perpetual state of unrequited yearning towards the objects of the visual world-the first golden tinged leaves of dawn!
While revolving around a car bounce its underside against the lines of the parking lane. Rejoice in those unexpected pops of light from peripherally-seen epiphanies. Avoid the temptation to repeat them for premeditated viewing detracts from their magic. Instead imagine what they would have looked like if you had caught them a split-second earlier. Today I find on page three of the Sunday paper an article on a new theory of star formation-an uncanny coda to my nebula metaphor of yesterday which in its first version read "like stars condensing from a nebula." It must be mid-summer madness. But don't worry about becoming weird. Every inspired and rare feeling is weird by quotidian standards. Only your best friends and relatives will know If you do not Wonderize indiscreetly. For what is really weird-to exist forever in the humdrum-never to see the beauty of the world in transcendent joy-never to look up and see a tree holding part of the sky and murmur I BE DREAMIN'.
There is a place called Dada Land
Just beyond the fringe
It lies outside the humdrum sphere
Parted by transparent hinge
In it light is brighter
While objects jump and jive
And Edge Effects are omnipresent
Exhorting us revive
Those eyes which once with wonder saw
Their world mimetically displayed
But through mistake, misuse, neglect
Had more mechanically conveyed
To break that spell
To rend the veil
Or call it what you will
May cost in effort and travail
Or may unbidden come
To shine its presence there
For those who stop by woodland trails
Practicing the Panoptic Stare
HIGH-STRUNG AND WIRED
Lyre, lyre eyes on fire
Love the beauty of the wire
Hear their music as they cross
See their classic forms unfold
See them outline sky and cloud
See them body forth the light
Lyre, lyre eyes on fire
Love the beauty of the wire