I wasn’t planning to take any photos on this morning’s dog-walk, but I couldn’t resist the sight of a butterfly pollinating flowers alongside the usual handful of bees. Even on mornings when I’m not planning to take any photos, I have my everyday-use camera in my purse, within easy reach. You never know when or where there might be butterflies.
The world, it turns out, is full of such serendipity. I wasn’t planning to take any photos across from the Starbucks in Waban Square, but when I saw a single butterfly dancing around flowers that were within easy shooting distance, I walked a few feet out of my usual way, Reggie happy to sniff a few steps this way rather than that. While taking a handful of butterfly shots, I spotted a grasshopper sitting atop the same cluster of flowers: an unforeseen bonus. Had I not taken a few steps this way rather than that, I’d never have seen it.
Some might argue that looking at the world through a viewfinder narrows your vision: there is so much that lies outside your perceptual frame, you run the risk of missing the proverbial forest for the trees. But I say that carrying a camera encourages a depth of vision: zeroing and zooming on one small thing, you see another and another. William Blake was right, and he didn’t even own a digicam. The whole world dwells in a grain of sand, and all of heaven hides in a wildflower.