Part of my morning routine can involve a walk through a local park. Each day reveals how the seasons are affecting the plants, bird life etc. This morning on walking through the park, I was treated to the spectacle of a thick layer of dew, shimmering and spectacular, glinting in the sunlight.
Taking out my phone, I tried to take a picture of the scene for later and yet, what came out in the image was not the brilliant scene before me but instead some blurry grass. The ‘immediacy’ of the sight struck home. As with so many of the gifts that nature provides, attempting to take a photograph of it somehow just doesn’t quite capture the beauty of the moment. There are some great photographs of sunsets or sunrises, but part of the attraction of the image is not the photograph itself but our memory of those brilliant sunsets that we have experienced. The photograph is suggestive of the beauty that the photographer saw but somehow, the fullness of that beauty has not translated into the photograph.
As we stop to enjoy the moment, rather than photograph it and rush off to our morning appointment, we can start to notice what it is about it that captivates us. From my viewpoint, the majority of the dew this morning formed a silver blanket on the grass. It was this that caught my eye initially. Yet as I observed the dew, individual droplets came into focus and, because of the angle at which I was viewing them, they appeared as blue, as a slightly different blue and then other different colours. The physics of the rainbow was being revealed before me, one metre away on the grass. If I moved, the clues to these mysteries would disappear.
It was a reminder to slow down and notice things, who knows what we’ll see. Perhaps you will disagree and say that it is just my poor photography skills that are the problem. Please disagree in the comments section below! Alternatively, if you agree and want to share a moment of beauty and everyday physics, please also share that in the comments section below. I’ll finish this post however with an excerpt from the thoughts of someone who obviously did stop, slow down and observe his world. The excerpt is from “Inversnaid” by Gerard Manley Hopkins:
What would the world be, once bereft,
Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.