The weaver is dressing and sees a pileated woodpecker draped in cheerful light on a near tree. She freezes and watches for a while, then thinks of binoculars, tries pulling her clothes on without breaking her gaze toward the bird's big head with its red-orange blaze and stark white-on-black stripes, gives up, finishes dressing, and goes to fetch the binoculars. When she gets back to the window the woodpecker has moved to a different tree and is moving up and down a vertical trunk. She hears it call and then sees a different woodpecker, smaller, very close to the pileated. Through the binocs she notes its red head and zebra back, then fetches a field guide and finds it under red-bellied woodpecker. The pileated is gone. But a third woodpecker, smaller still, is flicking among higher branches of the same tree, and she spends some time focusing and chasing it with her lenses and looking it up in the field guide (downy or hairy) before seeing the pileated again, looming in the background of the magnified image, feeding in a tree behind the one she's focused on, its broad back and axlike movements partially visible, like an enormous gliding ship glimpsed between buildings at the end of a street.


"There were several Wests [in the 1830s]: the old Southwest of Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay; the old Northwest we call the Midwest; the Northwest of Lewis and Clark; what we call the Deep South, also once a "West"; and the Far or Spanish West, beyond the borders of the United States as it then was."

~William Seale


“As it happens, the etymology of the word true takes us back to the old English word for ‘tree’: a truth, to the Anglo-Saxons, was nothing more than a deeply rooted idea.”

~Michael Pollan


The painter has become at least as interested in the question of time as he is in the question of space. He has painted bare trees behind the house only to foliate them later. He has put in a certain worker three different times—carrying water, scything grass, chopping wood—and with each new version has erased the last: How can the same man be doing three tasks at once? Yet the man does do all these things in one day.

If the mural’s to be an image of only one possible moment, there are many tasks that will go undepicted, and many animals that will be hidden. Light from the windows in the dining room moves over the unfinished mural, from grey to gold to white and back again.
A time capsule is a buried pin that may accept water despite its maker's efforts. It is a pin designed to end its usefulness on a specific date in the future, when it will be dug up and opened. Until this date, several generations of people must be trusted to hold the knowledge of the pin's location and open date. Therefore this knowledge, if written down, becomes a pin in itself, sitting in a drawer, sometimes talked about.

Or perhaps the capsule is marked with a plate or a vertical stake—either one, of course, also a pin. The capsule’s contents, then the capsule itself, then the knowledge of it, fixed or mobile—these form a layered succession of pins, through which humans attempt to contemplate the passage of time on a scale that exceeds their own lifetimes. In other words, the contemplation itself must be performed by a succession of humans in communication with each other, none of whom can perform it alone but each of whom contributes a part to its whole. The contemplation itself is a pin. The newspaper inside the capsule is too wet to read.
The painter is visiting nearby and is told about a snowy owl spotting the week before. It was sitting on a fencepost and then flew across the road in front of the person's car, on enormous not-entirely-white wings, far out of its species' normal range. Newspaper accounts and official mobilizations followed.

The painter leaves and drives down the same road on which the owl was seen. It is a rainy, anticipatory day. After the bridge he sees it--on a fencepost, not entirely white, leaning forward--but it never takes off. It is plastic. It watches him pass with alarmed plastic eyes.
The dissolution of the house.

"Though doors and windows may be cut to make a house, the essence of the house is the emptiness within it."
~Lao Tzu

When it burns, it is as though a lid comes off a jar full of fireflies.

There is talk of taking down an important oak tree in order to replace the house that burned. But the tree itself encloses a houselike emptiness. To use its site for a house would be nothing comes from nothing.
Vibrating pins:

7. Some people consider personal wireless service facilities to be unsightly. Is there some way to make these structures blend in with their surroundings?

Answer: Antennas for personal wireless services can sometimes be mounted on existing structures such as building roof tops, church steeples, street lights, traffic lights, or electric utility substations, where they are relatively unobtrusive. Painting antenna structures to blend in with the existing structures is also an effective camouflage. Camouflaging of antennas is also used to accommodate highly specialized land use concerns. For example, a personal wireless service provider seeking to locate a transmitter site in a historic district may consider camouflaging the antenna in such structures as clock towers or artificial trees. Such camouflaging is, however, expensive and time consuming and most service providers are reluctant to routinely use the camouflage option.

~FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, Fact Sheet #2, September 17, 1996: National Wireless Facilities Siting Policies


"Members of Byrd's party and their counterparts from North Carolina drove a cedar post into the ground near the Atlantic Ocean, just north of Currituck Inlet, on the morning of 7 March 1728 and began the survey."

~Stephen Ausband, Byrd's Line

An upright pin with bark and a scent marks one end of a horizontal pin with zero width. It is unknown whether the western end of the line was similarly staked.


"I had come to the house, in a cave of trees,
Facing a sheer sky."

~Louise Bogan, "Medusa"

The trees are the house, and without the house.

The house is a pin inside a cave.

The sky is a cliff or a curtain.

On Sunday morning, before IGA opened, a cloud made the brown mountain purple.


Apparently, in the season of holding fire in the organs of the house, the accepted method of obtaining mistletoe is to shoot it out of the oak trees where it grows.

Thus the mistletoe is a portable pin and the bullet, on its mission, is a spinning vehicle.
The weaver sees the moon in various ways. It is now deep into the night phase, and meanwhile the moon is a svelte blade that pops overhead between long sessions in round, amber-colored places. She sews or stirs inside. Then she sees the moon as one point of a triangle, the other two planets, the moon’s unlit side a faint stencil, before she ducks back in the door. Or it lays itself all over a scalloped cloud. Or it fronts an opening in trees made by a straight road rising and falling: they drive up toward the moon.