Time to stop, perhaps?

What is this life if, full of care,Blue mountains

We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs

And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,

Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,

Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,

And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can

Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.


William Henry Davies


Phil: Standing and staring. That’s something I’m not very good at.

Last week, I took a trip to the Blue Mountains outside Sydney. This was a strong recommendation from Candice and working on the basis that you should always listen to friend’s suggestions, I took it up.

As promised, the scenery is simply stunning. From the right vantage point you see the mountains recede in to the distance for many miles. The blue colour is a haze from the droplets from the eucalyptus trees that blanket the hillsides and visitors can stroll on a boardwalk down in the rainforest to take a closer look.

Needless to say I took some pictures. Quite a lot in fact. The trouble is that the vista is just too big. No camera can do justice to it. Not that this stops anyone trying. All sorts of devices were being waved around, from SLR’s to iPads.

Now don’t get me wrong. Taking photos is great. You can share them with friends and family, make a scrapbook to remind you of a trip and even frame the best for your wall. At some point though, it’s important to stop watching the world through the camera lens and see it for real. The scene is there and isn’t improved by processing through someone’s tablet computer.

I’m getting better at this. A little voice in my head has told me several times recently to put the camera down and just drink in the view. Commit it to the memory of the mind and not just the memory of the SD card.

Sometimes, we just need to stand and stare.


Filed under Phil, Writing

2 responses to “Time to stop, perhaps?

  1. I love the poem. I hadn’t read it before. You are right about stopping to take in the world around you, I like, on occasion to people watch and often it prompts my imagination.

  2. I was digging away in the veg garden, spreading on the compost and came in for a cuppa and read this post. When I went back I did take time to stand and stare as the maize field to the front of the house has been combined and we have our landscape back so I can see the Pyrenees – there is a slight dusting of snow on the highest peak but it is still 28c. On Friday my wife and I will drive 120kms and stare at the Atlantic waves for a bit as well. Lots of standing and staring to be done then. I will take the camera and my sketchbook as well. You are right – we went to Rocamador a few weeks ago to watch the hot air balloons ascend from the valley bottom as dawn broke in a cloudless blue sky. It was wonderful and though we took a lot of pics and video with about 100 other people on the cliff edge all busily snapping away but we did watch sans viewfinder to take in the bigger picture.

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