“To See a World….”

imageRaindrop and leaf, Woodbury, Connecticut © Steven Willard

When I stopped to photograph this drop of water captured on a palm leaf, I was reminded of the first line of William Blake’s poem, “To See a World in a Grain of Sand”. But as often happens, I heard more in my head than what was actually written.

Wally and I had been out for his evening constitutional when I saw this leaf with the last drop of rain from an afternoon shower. It only took a moment to put Wally’s leash on the ground where I could keep a foot on it to free my hands to make a few photographs; an impromptu act I didn’t want spoil with a tripod.

To be honest, I didn’t remember that the poet was William Blake, and at the moment it didn’t matter. What was/is of interest to me was that I was convinced that the next line was “and an Ocean in a Drop of Water”. It wasn’t until I got home and looked up the poem that I saw I was wrong. I wasn’t even close.

I have written before of my fascination with how photographs can trigger or stimulate memories. Sometimes the memories are vivid recollections of real things, places or events. Sometimes, no, often, these memories are phantoms, mis-remembered flights of fancy; a kind of deja vu. Whatever you want to call it, it intrigues me. It is a kind of creativity on a very basic level, beyond our ability to control.

I haven’t been able to figure out a way to encourage this kind of creativity, it just happens. What I have been working on is giving in to the impulses that arise. If I feel an urge to make a photograph, I try not to analyze that urge at the time, but just make the exposures. Time for analysis later.

There has been a lot of discussion about the world’s supply of potable water lately. Perhaps this was rolling around in my head when I saw this tiny drop of water. Who knows.

Panasonic Lumix G3 with 20mm f1.7 lens, processed in Nik Snapseed® on my iPad Air.



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