Thursday, 28 May 2020

The quiet eye

'In common things that round us lie
Some random truths he can impart,
The harvest of a quiet eye
That broods and sleeps on his own heart.'

Those lines were written by the poet William Wordsworth in the early 1800s (A Poet's Epitaph). I'd argue that they are as applicable to a photographer or an artist as a poet, perhaps more so. I'm interested in photography as a 'mindful' practice and lately I've been seeking to slow down and notice the 'common things that round us lie', often to be found in the smallest details. Here is the 'harvest of a quiet eye' from a recent walk. 

The pretty blue egg shell is, I think, a blackbird's egg. I couldn't tell if it had hatched properly and been discarded from the nest or been damaged by a predator.

Spring is beginning to segue into early summer. The hawthorn blossom is fading, the 'candles' on the horse chestnut trees are at their peak (cue lots of sneezing from me!)

In Trench Woods, along Shipley Glen, the lichen covered rocks and old tree trunks are sometimes almost indistinguishable from each other; trees have embraced the terrain through which they grow.

Then there's evidence of man's activity: an old gatepost stands in a field like a prehistoric standing stone in miniature.

Young calves were as curious about me as I was about them. Look at him! Big ears, whiskery nose, eyes perfectly set to see forwards and sideways. Not the most beautiful face, though perhaps his mother loved him...


  1. I can confirm this is a blackbird's speckled blue egg. As boys we used to go bird nesting, make tiny pin holes and remove the contents. We collected the shells. I feel thoroughly ashamed about it now. After the war people were not environmentally sensitive. No-one stopped us or told us the futility of our action. Happily the blackbirds flourished; my garden is full of them!

  2. So lovely! Especially the first.

  3. Your 'common' things are lovely, Jenny!

  4. Pretty egg, the pieces I hope are from the chick pipping. The stone near the tree looks like an alligator resting. Lovely photos.

  5. I think disovering things in the woods and nature walks too and agree cows are very curious.