Noticing

Arriving to a new city you see all the cities you’ve ever been shattered as fragments drifting over street signs and corners, show windows and monuments. In similarities, as difference, as harmonized references, as aspects of you. Your path to this new place pulling tight on the strings of what you do and don’t notice. I notice my reflection in the window first. Then a light across the canal. Next a greyness overhead, a rolling sensation as I look vertically, a reflected weather. I notice further from what I’ve encountered.

This falls backwards as well: Each town passed — dwelled in — is altered by the new city with each new step. Noticing gathers inertia forwards into what you will perceive and inertia backwards into deeper tangles of memories, weaving sacred patterns all the way to your first departure. I step lightly on wet cobblestone, up a rusted fire escape to the roof. I see in the grey sky a reflection of home. Another roof in the rain above to another unknown city.

I notice a granite boulder in a swelling river. Its last hundred years polished into it. A careful, treacherous wake left as the water rips by. Call that granite this ‘novel city’ and our curiosity ‘the river’: we sit cross-legged on top watching time carve stone. Call that granite ‘home’ and our living ‘the river’: we are constantly polishing this memory. Eroding sharp edges and reality, leaving nothing but the marrow.

Home is known to the traveller who sees more clearly while away from the familiar — each moment is another life, another city, another web of people, cares, exchanges and signs that propel intuitions into the traveller’s mind. Forwards and backwards, home’s identity constantly arrives with a new verse. Not only an original location; not only a shelter; home is the aspect of self in perpetual reflective reference, for better or for worse, which procludes words like ‘going’ or ‘coming’ or ‘return’. Home is the canvas of noticing.

Noticing: nothing less than the dance of awareness by way of the eye. What passes through the iris is then brought into the living conversation — that is what is noticed. Towers and canals, slums and family, tiles depicting Christ next to a sewer line under a rolling sky. The sky says it’s about to rain harder.

The city is used to this rain. Its roofs shimmer and its streets don’t flood. A kite is lost on a chimney a few blocks away. A couple laughs as they take shelter in each other under a balcony. A lone woman, without a jacket, looks into the sky with eyes closed, noticing something.