In photography, one of the most important concepts to understand is depth of field. Depth of field is the distance between the closest and farthest objects in a photo that appear in focus. Think of a photograph in which a face is clear but the background is fuzzy. The face is in focus but, because of the narrow depth of field, the background just fades away into a blur. If the depth of field is large, more of the scene will be in focus. When using a narrow depth of field or low ‘f-stop’ as we call it in photography, your shutter speed needs to be slower to allow the lens to be open longer and consequently let more light in. The higher your ‘f-stop’ the faster your shutter speed can be.
I love a good photo with a narrow depth of field. I will often use a narrow depth of field when I am trying to capture the first signs of spring. Buds on trees that are barely noticeable or bulbs that have just started poking above ground. It helps me notice the small things and appreciate the micro-mysteries of life.
This day in age it is far too easy to get distracted with all the small details in the big picture: the bills, the homework, the housework and the next 10 years. We get distracted by Instagram and Facebook and feel inadequate – we envy the shiny, whitewashed lives of people we don’t even know. We compare ourselves to other’s successes, well-groomed children, stunning vacations, and picture-perfect homes when really, we need to just focus on the present – maybe it is today and maybe it is just this moment.
In a post very much like this one, 7 years ago (yes, I have had blog for that long) I wrote these words, “I think when we focus too much on what others are doing, what we are doing becomes out of focus. It’s called depth of field. I can focus on what is in the distance or I can focus on what’s right in front of me. There is a time and a place for everything. Sometimes, we need to keep the finish line in focus but I would argue that most of the time the journey is just as important. At the forefront of my mind is the thought, if I were to die tomorrow, would I wish that I had spent more time with my children, cuddled more, taken life a little slower and more intentionally.” Used a slower shutter speed. Let more light in.
Could it be that the essence of life, our true purpose is not in the grand gestures, long term plans or most like posts, but in the moment we find ourselves in now and the details therein – giving gratitude for the ordinary and extraordinary moments of each day?
What if we stopped grasping and just settled into the place where we are?
Stopped waiting on the world to change.
Stopped being addicted to validation.
Stopped trying to measure up.
Stopped planning ahead and analysing the past.
What if we just stopped and listened.
The sound of gentle waking,
a yawn and the turning of a page,
his fingers feeling the paper,
the pencil gliding across the text
marking those things he doesn’t want to forget.
Murmurs from downstairs,
quiet utterances of little voices,
The bird song punctuated
by the occasional car
people still determined
to keep up,
to do and see.
Where are you going?
The cool morning air on bare shoulders
as the duvet warms the rest of my body.
Books strewn on the bed, not one but three,
all with different purposes,
the words of different people from different walks of life whom I have allowed to speak into mine.
And coffee sipped from a mug,
my mug with no handle,
yet another scar of a life lived.
This post is part of the 2021 Writing Challenge. This challenge is open to anyone and involves writing on one word a week for 52 weeks. Write for yourself or write for others but either way, please feel free to share by posting a link in the comments (if you’re posting on this week’s word) or post on social using the #2021writingchallenge and tagging me on Twitter or Instagram, or posting on my FB page so I can repost. Happy Writing!