The pond out the window confirms that my aesthetics have never been so predictable. Though “storm drainage catchment” is more precise, this pond is landscaped to perfection: reeds along the edge, fish stocked in its quarter-acre around. I can watch the gentle Vs of a few ducks that paddle around and I can imagine what kind of marsh might have been here forty years ago, what animals sipped or napped or hunted here two centuries past, whether an Arapahoe hunter or Ute families walked along this marsh.
It’s not just an environmental consciousness I’m trying for, or an awareness of the ghosts of indigenous people I’m remembering in my imagination. It’s not just my complicity in the white bourgeois economy of conspicuous consumption represented by my even sitting in this chair. It’s not just the recognition that I can even be in this house because of a long tradition of heteropatriarchy that makes my marriage fiscally advantageous. It’s not only a sense that this blandly cultivated loveliness has displaced the kinds of creativity I otherwise crave in my towns, the weirdness just around the corner that has otherwise let me play effectively at full-on respectability.
It isn’t just that I’m lonely in what I still can’t help but thinking of as an outpost from home, or that I’m worried that the technology that’s playing melancholy piano music in the background is probably monetizing my aesthetic morning, or that I’m so caught up in my alienation from this aestheticized environment we’ve constructed for ourselves that I can’t get any writing done, or that I’m writing about the Real but can’t see it even out my own window, or even that I’m a ready-made Baudrillard lesson plan, or that I’m terrified that all of this means that, literally, the whole thing is about to collapse with the ecosystem and the president and the racist hatred and that my only immediate solace is to stare out the window at the ducks make their gentle Vs across the reeded pond while melancholy piano music plays in the background.
Ok, maybe it’s that last thing.