Make the time to stand and stare

It was dusk, and as I walked along the edge of the copse looked up into the top of the trees. The branches and twigs were etched out in a pitch black, a stark relief against an ice-blue sky that was tinted with rose petal pinks and moody violet. It was enough to halt my journey to take in this simple, common -  but beautiful - composition. My first thought was to take a picture of it - then, secondly, to use the resulting image for the basis of a painting. But I carried no camera. So I stood stock still and took it all in. And while I did so, had a little think...

Why is it that, for some of us at least, when confronted with an arresting scene/plant/bird/insect our first thought is to reach out for the camera. Is it part of an ancestral need to own or shackle nature? To lock it down so that it cannot escape and becomes our possession? The written word is another tool that can be used to obtain the same result - do we feel the need to annotate, describe and commit the subject to a notebook or blog post and thus understand it or, just simply, tame it? Is it just another form of consumerism, an object to be identified, collated and placed in a safe place for future viewing?

There are times when I do wonder whether or not life would be simpler, purer and more authentic if the binoculars, cameras, telescopes, notebooks and field guides were left at home and the time that we spend with nature was made on aesthetic grounds only. To take in the sights and smells, feel the weather and hear the sounds without recourse to identify, identify, identify and process it into a neat little package.

I'm not about to try it though...

Comments

Ric said…
Steve, If there's one problem I have as regards the world around me, it's that I have no trouble existing just in the moment.
Neither before, nor after. No thoughts, words or labels. Just blank oblivion.

I've done that ever since I could remember.

It's a problem when with others if they are constantly on the go, making plans, formulating narratives, scheming and the like. I'm there just soaking it up saying nothing because I'm thinking of...nothing.

I might be humming a tune quietly to myself without realising it. Others have noticed that. A source of a good leg pulling from someone around here about forty odd years back while waiting at Rickmansworth station.

'Snap out of it' applies. Can be quite a jolt as my senses get swamped by 'noise'.



Steve Gale said…
Now that, Ric, is a problem well worth having.
Stewart said…
I think you can do it all. One moment you can stand and stare the next take its picture or whatever. I do. Like my little Firecrest. I took my poor images. While standing with the camera thinking I'll never get this, I put it back on my shoulder and took in the scene. Then I felt the need to collect it again in the notebook. As for the little stripy fellow, he didnt care a bit and went about his business unblemished...
Steve Gale said…
I think it's about your first reaction Stewart. I have an almost reflex reach for the camera which I'm attempting to stop.

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