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While walk­ing along the riv­er be­fore dawn I laid down on a bench and looked up, and saw the tree, clear and green against the or­ange clouds in the night sky, and thought, hey, that looks cool, and tried to take a pic­ture.

The screen in my cam­era stayed ob­sti­nate­ly black. I changed set­tings, moved ISOs, touched on dif­fer­ent places try­ing to con­vince it to fo­cus and set aper­ture for the dark­est or the light­est ar­eas of what I knew to be there.

And it re­mained black. And sud­den­ly, I had a dis­sent­ing opin­ion, that there was not a clear green tree there, and that the sky was not full of or­ange cloud­s, but that it was all black, star­less and emp­ty, emp­ty of tree, of cloud.

I placed my hand above the cam­er­a, hop­ing to catch a glim­mer of it, and stil­l, the dis­play was a square of dark­ness sep­a­rat­ing my fin­gers from my ar­m, as emp­ty as be­fore, mock­ing me fea­ture­less.

Why was it so black, if I could see clear­ly. If there were lamp­posts giv­ing light, and I could see clear­ly, and there was a tree. I knew the cam­era worked. What was I do­ing, by the river, at 4AM, on a tues­day, lay­ing on a bench, look­ing up, with a cam­er­a?

You ex­pect your sens­es to work. You ex­pect to per­ceive what is there, and not per­ceive what is not. You ex­pect to see re­al­i­ty, to not see ir­re­al­i­ty, to lis­ten to things, to not lis­ten to un­things, to touch truth, to smell shit.

What would hap­pen if you had two sets of sens­es, two vi­sion­s, and they dis­agreed, and you were not sure which one to trust, which one is right, which one is true? What would hap­pen if the cam­era was right and my eyes were wrong, and I was ac­tu­al­ly not see­ing, but imag­in­ing, and the truth was emp­ty, and the tree was not there, and the sky was black.

Then I en­abled flash, and the ug­ly pic­ture con­vinced me to, some­day, get a bet­ter cam­er­a, and nev­er for­get to take my gas­tri­tis medicine when go­ing for trips on iso­lat­ed lo­ca­tion­s.

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