Next to the barrier you may occasionally see something that looks like an enormous hawthorn flower, but this is, in fact, a man-made object frequently associated with a group of artisans who meet together in town once a week and share gossip and tips of a technical nature. None of them admits to forging the hawthorn shape but each in turn will explain to you how it was created and what the materials are that went into its composition in such minute detail you might begin to suspect they were all in on the project together. The problem is that once you begin to examine the shape for yourself, you realize that everything you have been told about it is false – not a lie, exactly, but simple misinformation of the sort that you can pick up when discussing the animal kingdom with people who have viewed a great many wildlife documentaries on tv and so consider themselves experts. As a result, time and again, confusion rides up in its (to keep somewhat with the trope) birch bark canoe and makes hand gestures in our direction and we respond in kind but nothing ever really gets said. I tend to hang out in the back, where the shadows take care of whatever concealment is necessary and where I can work out for myself who in the room is an enemy and who is merely someone with the potential to become an enemy, someone with very particular ideas concerning the direction the continent should take, and by this I mean the actual continent, the landmass itself and where exactly it should wind up as it goes drifting about on its tectonic plate. My reasons for scouting others out in this manner, people who are probably, in all actuality, no more hazardous than are the motes in the sunbeams that find their way in through my windows, are myriad and I would list them out loud without provocation, as a kind of therapy, a kind of mildly necessary catharsis, if I thought anyone would pay the slightest bit of attention. But given I have situated myself both here and in my domestic relations in such a way as to suggest I want very little company, that I probably don’t even speak the same language as anyone else I might happen upon while moving about in the world, I have nothing, really, to complain about. Everything is of my own doing and my own volition; I am, it seems, ultimately responsible for the existence of everything, both visible and potential, and it can only stay that way -- in fact, intensify -- the more closely I set out to examine everything. The stone stairs leading up through a tangle of honeysuckle and garbage. The nebulae -- when you locate them in the viewfinder, or more accurately when someone else locates them, someone who knows where to look, who has been trained to properly operate the sorts of mammoth instruments capable of locating distant objects in the sky, and who then takes a photograph of the nebulae and publishes those photos in a place where the rest of us will have access to them – the nebulae looking strangely like children’s sloppy, hand-drawn art in the remote corners of space.