It starts with talk of constants: an iris of standing water; climbing bittersweet; maidenhair and the long rolling fog of ivy. She climbs stairs to nowhere and continues on despite. Here, her two fingers press against the green snowflake of a rattlesnake fern; skin along the spark of each frond.
There’s talk of resistance on Belle Isle. Every whisper is measured in ohms. Each hope is lost in the white froth and stone oculi of the James River. This place is a brief half-life: all hadrons, despite how stout they might be, fall away. Old Dominion Iron and Steel remains as a single brick wall; a hollow doorway only to itself. Quarrymen lost granite to the river eventually, their pickaxes useless against the water’s spitting heads. The idyllic scene rendered only because of perfect tension and retention.
Her father understands this. He knows of a place where sky and water are the same thing. It exists only in each coulomb of electrical charge in his laptop; the integration of scene to scene to scene. But these beautiful renderings become dependent on one another; no longer random variables of sun to bough, or the encroaching lip of river strung like a bow. Look, he says, I can make an oil painting of the world. With one click I can smooth away every bristled hair.