The infinite sphere

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) wrote: “Nature is an infinite sphere of which the centre is everywhere and the circumference nowhere”. We encounter nature daily; we can hardly avoid it, even if it is only in the form of a humble fly who crawls through our open window or the scent of distant park flowers on the breeze.

flying bee
Taking time to notice nature enriches my day beyond measure. The more I look, the more I see. Have you ever taken the time to watch a honey bee? I mean for several minutes or more. Watch how the light glistens in its wings as it hovers before its chosen blossom, forelegs outstretched for a gentle landing.

bee flying towards fennel flowers

Notice how the evening light catches the soft hairs on its back, and its eager tongue, already prepared as if it cannot wait to savour the sweet nectar.

bumble bee approaching dahlia flower

Or how about the bustling bumble bee? It announces its approach with an bombastic buzz before blundering onto its pollen-heavy landing pad.

bumble bee and dahlia


A smaller bumble comes careening in; too busy to linger, it is gone almost before the shutter can click, a momentary sway of the flowerhead the only sign of its passing.

bumble bee and dahlia

It has become a cliche to speak of mindfulness, or living in the moment. I don’t know if our lives are busier now than they were a generation ago, or a century ago but, for me, a full life must still contain moments when all its demands are put to one side. Photography has opened my eyes to daily treasures. And the digital age has added the joy of sharing them.

Sometimes, however, it is also good to put the camera down and simply look, listen, smell, taste, touch. That’s all; I am going outside now.

“If we take care of the moments, the years will take care of themselves.” Maria Edgeworth (1767-1849)

27 thoughts on “The infinite sphere

  1. Beautiful photos and beautiful message behind this post. It’s funny. I think we’re actually using the excuse of “I’m busy” to truly take a moment and enjoy our lives. Look at the smaller things and enjoy them for what they are.

  2. Wonderful post, Rachael! When I am out with the camera, I often get too consumed by the need to get the perfect shot that I sometimes forget to enjoy what’s around me until I get home and load the photos on my PC. By then, it’s too late. I am trying my best to change that as I want to enjoy thew view as much as the process of documenting it 🙂

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  4. Very astute observations here, Rachael. I sometimes find myself defending the role of photography in travel/walking against the (oft true) stereotypes of mindlessly snapping tourists. I have made similar observations to you about photography putting you “in the moment”.

    I thought about it a lot on my recent trip. As a walker, stopping and allowing yourself a minute or two to line up a shot is a way of making sense of what you see and briefly bonding with it. I would say I sacrificed half an hour or so per day for taking pictures on my latest journey, time I could not afford to waste in walking 50km+ per day, but it was worth it to briefly rest, take a breath and actually LOOK at my surroundings.

    And I reckon good outdoor photographers become better at actually noticing things around them and they way they connect to everything else, even when they’re not carrying a camera.

    • Yes, your last point is my usual reply to my cheeky son who likes to tell me I see the world only in rectangles. Your comment reminds me that I was cogitating recently on the difference between a ‘snap’ and a photograph. Might be the basis for a post…

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  6. Just catching up with your blog Rachael. I’ve only just discovered it. 🙂

    I particularly like this post. It reminds me of a moment when I was sitting atop a cliff in Cornwall at some silly hour waiting for the sunrise. I was so captivated by the sights and sounds of my surroundings that for a while I forgot to take any photographs!

    It also reminds me of a quotation by a friend of mine:

    “Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realise they were the big things.” – Robert Brault

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