Stop and Stare

When I was over at my grandparents’ house the other week there, I was sitting chatting to my grandma, when a flash of green caught my eye. The sunlight, having temporarily banished the rain clouds, was now glinting off something in the cabinet. The cabinet in question is at floor level, and contains glassware never used, but which remains a part of the household, none the less. In fact, I’m sure grandmas the world over have a similar cabinet containing similar items. Anyway, I have been visiting this house ever since I was born, and I’ve even lived there for months at a time; until last week, however, I had never noticed the green glass. Maybe it was the angle I was sitting at, or perhaps the height of the early Spring sun, that caused my attention to focus. Whatever the reason, the result was the same: I saw the green glass, and I took some time to appreciate its shape and hue.

Green Glass

by William Henry Davies

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stop and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

Not time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

What have you taken the time to notice recently? What caused you to stop and stare? Do you find that, ‘full of care’, you don’t take the time and opportunity to notice and engage with the beauty that surrounds you?


March 14, 2008. Environment.


  1. diane replied:


    I love the way you help me to see things from new perspectives!

    Went in to look at some repairs done to our furnace and noticed (after living there for 18 years!) that the copper pipes resembled some type of Victorian steampunk fantasy a la Nemo’s submarine. Have taken a few photos, will post some when satisfied.

    I’m learning to see large by observing the small things.


  2. Joanna Young replied:

    Amy, I try with my pictures and writing to see things inside out and back to front, makes life more fun that way.

    I love Diane’s line there – that’s how I think good writing could/should be

    “see large by observing the small things” – thanks Diane!


  3. Megan replied:

    Wow, this is actually something I’ve been thinking about lately. I stopped to look at the stars the other night and thought that it had been such a long time since I had done that. I stopped for a moment while it was snowing to think about how beautiful it was instead of to grumble about how it would soon be an impediment to my getting to work. And I stopped yesterday, on a beautiful early spring day to enjoy the feel of the warm(er) breeze on my face. There are times in my life when I get so down or just so busy that I forget to do these things, and I’m much the worse for it. I hope my life never comes to the point where I never remember to really observe and enjoy the world around me because then it seems that I will have lost the best part of myself. Thanks for the reminder. šŸ™‚

  4. Janet replied:

    What a beautiful shade of green! I always take the time, intentionally or not, to “see” things šŸ™‚

  5. kacey replied:

    Love green glass!

    It is nice to stop and notice the little things in life sometimes, isn’t it? I feel like I rush through life so fast sometimes. It’s good to stop and just be in the moment.

  6. Penelope Anne replied:

    Beautiful glass.
    I need the reminder to stop right now….with life so crazy I will easily forget. Nothing comes to mind at the moment, but I do plan to stop and stare lovingly at my nephews this evening, does that count?

  7. Seeing Shapes « wonderwebby replied:

    […] I’m enjoying the creative process and seeing the results of five fun, creative minutes each week. It helps me to think about new ways to take a photo of the same subject (um…me) and look for new ideas as I appreciate beauty and design in my environment more each day. I discovered the delightful blog of Amy Palko recently, who summed up the experience of observing the beauty of our surrounds in a recent post. […]

  8. amypalko replied:

    Ooh, I can’t wait to see those pics, Diane! Those pipes sound incredible.

    Life is more fun that way, isn’t it, Joanna?

    Isn’t it amazing, Megan, that by altering our perception, we can affect such a powerful change in the way we feel about, not only ourselves, but the whole world surrounding us.

    It is such a stunning green, Janet, that I can’t quite believe that I never noticed them before that day!

    Our lives in the 21st century move at such a fast pace, Kacey, that it can become all too easy to forget to look around and enjoy the journey.

    Stopping to appreciate the loved ones in our lives always counts, Penelope Anne šŸ™‚

  9. The World Is Too Much With Us « Lives Less Ordinary replied:

    […] was the last time that you stopped and stared and fully engaged with the beauty of the world around you?Ā  What gift did you find when you did? A […]

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