Wednesday, May 25, 2005when i see something, i rarely--almost never--know what i am actually seeing.
the reminders in my life range from the small and silly--mistaking a gull for a White Heron in downtown Chicago-- to the large and complicated, like walking past the same sketchy-seeming, cigar-smoking, sunglasses-wearing, grizzled, raspy-voiced alcoholic on the corner twice a day for two years, assuming he was the lookout for the crack dealership across the street, and then one morning he is there, the crackheads are gone, police are everywhere and a small signpost reads, NO LOITERING--DEA!
I am about to become an aunt, and i wonder this about the new child: will the child be less foolish than me when it comes to presuming that s/he knows something for certain? the certainty, the feeling of it, the weight of it once my brain takes it on, is what gets me into trouble, not the fact that i'm wrong or right. Is any of this making any sense? This is a lot of the reason why I watch birds: they insist on being themselves regardless of what I think they are. Perhaps i can get a good enough look to identify them, perhaps not; but the ambiguities are as interesting as the certainties, and sometimes more fruitful in terms of dialogue: the birders on the listserv will often debate a bird's identity for weeks on end!