The World Is Too Much With Us

When I was out recently with my grandparents, we walked along a short woodland walkway which took us to a playpark where the kids could run off some of their excess energy. As we approached the walkway, we heard a man talking, and when we drew a little closer, we saw him pacing back & forth talking on his mobile phone. We quietened down the kids and kept walking to the park. On our way back to the car with our happy and only mildly tired out children, I noticed that the man wasn’t there anymore, and just at the spot where he had been walking back and forth engaged in his conversation, I saw this beautiful flower:

Lifting My Face To The Sun

I wonder if he saw it too?

The World Is Too Much With Us

The World is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours
And are up-gather’d now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.-Great God! I’d rather be
A pagan suckled in a creed outworn,-
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

By William Wordsworth

When was the last time that you stopped and stared and fully engaged with the beauty of the world around you? What gift did you find when you did? A flower like this one? Or maybe a beautiful view? Or maybe a stunning reflection?


May 16, 2008. Environment.


  1. Joanna Young replied:

    Amy, this might sound a little weird… but my cat. Often when I take a moment to watch and really admire his total catness (not a word, but the best I can do) I am full of wonder at the grandeur not just of him, but the whole thing.

    Thanks for the reminder


  2. David replied:


    I find it fascinating that 200 years ago Wordsworth identified ‘getting and spending’ as the means by which we ‘lay waste our powers’. How many powers must go to waste in today’s society, plagued by consumerism?

    The last time I was struck by a ‘stop and stare’ moment was sitting in the backyard of my house. The alleyways behind my house have stayed the same since Victorian times, and the brickwork on the back of the houses is old and forlorn, abundant with worn out memories.

    As I sat in the sunshine I stared at the bricks, captivated and lost in all the stories they could tell if only they would speak.

  3. Lodewijk replied:

    I try to make this a at least a weekly habit. Just stop and absorb what’s happening and being around me. No matter where I am (forest, beach, airports, train stations) it has a calming effect on me and let’s me put things in perspective.

    There are two things in particular that I like. Sunrises and starry nights.

    Sunrise is something I discovered last year August when I started my Early Bird Challenge. There’s magic in the 30 minutes before and after sunrise. Skies painted in pinkish colors, fresh air and the vibrant energy of a world waking up. Birds singing!

    Starry nights let me put things in perspective very much. I can get totally lost, just staring away and pretending to travel on a lightbeam away from earth. We are *so* tiny in the vastness of the universe. From that perspective some of our worries are plain foolishness πŸ™‚

  4. wendikelly replied:

    Just a few minutes ago when I was meditating in the painting the morning made of the sunrise.
    To wake up in the glory of Nature’s art takes my breath away.

    If the queen of CONFIDENT WRITING puts down the word CATNESS it is now evermore dubbed a word. I love it! Carry on….

  5. Rosa Say replied:

    Last night… we had a downpour at about 9pm. The clouds had steadily darkened all day, and I was wondering when they would simply let it all go, appreciating that they waited for me to take my daily walk first! When they finally did, I was safe inside and it was too dark out to see much, but closing my eyes and listening quietly gave me this same effect. I loved the sounds of the rain, picking out the differences as I’d slowly move through parts of my house and imagining how it did look outside. It soothed me right before my bedtime, and I slept so well.

  6. Celticangel replied:

    Ironically, just last night. We were driving home from dinner across the bridge and the lights off across the water were beautiful. The sky was a couple of different shades of a sort of cobalt blue.

    I wish that I could have stopped and taken a picture.

  7. On a Limb with Claudia replied:

    Wow. How right you are! I’d have to say that I try try try to see it all but I know I miss things every single day. This is a magnificent world. I’m delighted you are in it! πŸ™‚

  8. Karen Swim replied:

    Amy, sadly the man on the cell phone probably missed it. It is so important that we take time to be fully present or we can miss the beauty that is around us. I try to stop and take time to just be everyday. Yesterday it was the sky. It was clear and blue with just a few wisps of clouds. The sun shone brightly and it was beautiful and serene. I am so thankful for you and your camera! You remind us of the beauty of life. Thank you dear Amy!


  9. amypalko replied:

    I think ‘catness’ is a grand word, Joanna. Very descriptive!

    What a beautiful example, David and so vividly described. I can just imagine sitting there in the sun pondering the brickwork beside you πŸ™‚

    Not being at my best first thing in the morning, I tend to appreciate starry nights a lot more than sunrises, as I so rarely see them, Lodewijk!

    Rain can be very soothing, can’t it, Rosa? It clears the air, and freshens every thing up, doesn’t it?

    Oh, I often wish to have stopped to snap a picture, Celtic Angel. I do stop a lot, but if I had my way, I’d be stopping a whole lot more. I’d probably be perennially late too!

    Well, I’m delighted you are too, Claudia πŸ™‚

    I think he missed it too, Karen, but at least we’ve all enjoyed it!

  10. Soultravelers3 replied:

    Beautiful photo and poem!

    One of the reasons that I love our lifestyle is that it forces us to live in the ever present “now”.

    This fav travel quote explains it better than I can:

    “To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” — Bill Bryson —

    My natural tendency leans in this direction any way, I can weep over a tiny detail in life like the beauty of that flower.

    Yet, I find myself doing it many times every day in this traveling life of few reference points. Somehow, it keys me more into the sacredness every where…in the details like leaves and branches above me rustling in a breeze, sand in my toes at a new beach, children’s lilting voices in foreign languages at play…so much beauty and goodness everywhere.

    Our first day out this year was a hard day because I had a tooth pulled, yet there was still much to do. Then at midnight in an empty parking lot where we had just bought two bikes, we ate delicious sandwiches (made in the dark) while we watched some magical fireworks at a distance …like a gift from the heavens, reminding us how good life is!

    In deed, there is magic everywhere if we have the wit to see it. πŸ˜‰

  11. amypalko replied:

    What a beautiful comment, Soultravelers3! Thank you so much for sharing it with us. I just love the Bryson quote and your explanation of how it relates to your traveling life. You are truly living a life less ordinary πŸ™‚

  12. toni replied:

    When I stopped and fully engaged myself with the world around me, I found my husband asking if I’d like to play a computer game with him. I had been too immersed in my own chores and business that his little request almost got ignored! I would not have forgiven myself if that happened.

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