Macro photography and the value of curiosity

Symphiotrichum novae-angliae, New Englad aster

Curiosity can be an anodyne for our inner resistance to change, or new ideas. Curiosity about nature is the best motivation I have for exercise. It takes me outdoors and into the woods. All scientific discoveries arise from curiosity, often around why an experiment failed.

Does something about a news clip on Facebook seem dubious to you? Follow your curious instinct to get the full story.

Curiosity can lead to trouble. Remember Curious George? Have you ever broken something because you wanted to know how it worked, or wondered if you could make it work better?

Getting along with people requires respect for the privacy of neighbours and even those close to us. Have you ever offended someone by asking a personal question? Seeking too much information can lead to embarrassment, misunderstanding, and loss of trust. When we’re obsessed with answering the obvious questions, we may overlook more subtle but important clues. People who are suffering need comfort not interrogation.

Recently, I made the mistake of reading old journal entries when I was ill-prepared to revisit difficult memories. Although my younger self offered forgotten, challenging insights about his experiences, I shouldn’t try to relive them all at once. I’ll save those volumes for when I have appropriate time to consider them with mindfulness.

Moderation is a good philosophy where curiosity is concerned, as in all things. In my creative work, I’m learning to pair curiosity with patience. Ideas need time to evolve. So do grief and healing. Sometimes we resist thinking about things until we’re ready to reflect on them skillfully. This is wisdom.

Curiosity and a macro lens work excellently together. The lens reveals things invisible especially to my 54-year-old eyes. On the down side, macro photography might cause me to overlook something literally under my nose. A bumblebee might pollinate a flower while my eye is glued to the camera, snapping the next blossom over. It happened to me today.

Whatever this narrowness of vision is – a problem, an imperfection – I’m learning to accept it for a few minutes each day. It satisfies my curiosity about the hidden texture of things. It adds a layer of understanding when I stand back to appreciate the wonders of the universe.

Rose of sharon, Hibiscus syriacus


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