Experiencing the landscape is a snapshot of the present, a surface at once flat and bumpy, lit and shadowed. Or it is an immersion into an always present moment, a moment that tunnels or ramifies or disappears or endures like an old piece of cloth. In landscape we engage a surface reality, a reality that holds a fascination and motion of its own, a reality that is so "present" it's hard to believe it has a past. Or we see into a past at once murky and clear, designed of its own dreams, elusive, illusion, allusion.
The landscape seems static, unchanging, glacial. It may appear magnificent or insignificant, close or far. Or the landscape is a cascade of movement, starry cold and distant, or the shaded, singing liquid of a waterfall, or warm and smoky with the depth of murky aromas. We see wind in the trees and the grass, we see the movement of cars on the expressway, we see a squirrel busy replanting our garden, and we sense the changing of the day in the movement of light and shadows in our landscapes. But our brains work against us, against what we see. We assume, we almost have to assume, that our landscapes are static. How could we function in landscapes that move, that change, that transform? How could we behave as the instrumental beings we are, or believe ourselves to be, in a landscape lacy with melancholy, neither forged nor knitted, only a wisp of colored smoke?
As part of our cognitive toolbox, as beings that "do" we hold a model of the landscape as something that accommodates us. We act in it or upon it. We are present in its present and we move through it to more presents. Like our planet we know it moves but we perceive the landscape as unmoving. How else can we work in it? The job of landscape is to be still, not to change, to provide a backdrop for our activities. But as a "present" landscape is perforce a moment, temporary and all-quiet, without fabric. Without fabric there is no texture and no time and in a heartbeat we realize the non-concreteness, the non-presence that is evidence of landscape.