Pleasure in the Familiar

There are walks close by, on the edge of our village, that I must have walked hundreds of times over the course of thirty years.

They become friends with whom I am familiar. I’ve seen them in different lights, clothed differently depending on the season. I’ve watched the hedgerows and trees grow. I know them so well, and yet sometimes I can walk them deep in thought, and be so indifferent to precisely how they look. And there are other times, when I see something new, and wonder why I hadn’t spotted that before.

_DS82004The image here is from one such walk past a stand of poplars. I’ve photographed these trees covered in hoar frost, seen their trunks plastered by wind blown snow – a rare event around here. I’ve seen them at dusk. I’ve stood among them and heard the leaves whispering in the breeze.

It’s a very simple image past those poplars, across the ploughed up field to a solitary shapely tree. The sun was shining, the clouds were fluffy and white. Simple but weirdly special. Walking the familiar and seeing something new brings pleasure that is hard to describe. It displaces other thoughts and I return home refreshed.


About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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10 Responses to Pleasure in the Familiar

  1. What a beautiful walk Andy. It certainly sounds special. Lovely capture 🙂

  2. shoreacres says:

    I think you’ll enjoy this five-year-old article from the NY Times, about a fellow who decided to engage in a “Block-a-thon” — his version of the NY marathon. Instead of covering the 26.2 miles (or whatever it is) on one day, he did it by walking around his home block, over and over. It’s a wonderful read, and makes your point in a different way. Even the ordinary and familiar can arrest our steps, sometimes with beauty, sometimes with curiosity.

    I think it’s not unlike the familiar phenomenon from the road. We’re driving our car along a roadway that we’ve covered thousands of times, we begin to think or daydream, and suddenly we look up with not a clue where we are. It’s unsettling, and just vaguely exciting.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks so much for that link, Linda. I’ve just been reading it through – an extraordinary tale, well told. I have been known (more than once) to drive off from our house onto the main road and ten minutes later ‘wake up’ to realize that I had turned the wrong way onto the main road and was heading in the complete opposite way from what was intended.

  3. I have a long-ish commute to work (about 40 miles) and about once a week I see something along the way that I haven’t noticed before. I always have an odd mix of happiness at finding something new and embarrassment that I’d missed it until now….

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Melinda. Yep, I do that too – ‘why have I never noticed that before?’ Strange how we can be so blinkered at times that we completely miss the obvious.

  4. You have described—beautifully—what I have experienced many times. Special thanks for this, Andy, including the photograph that helps make the point.

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