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Put away the smart phone - some moments are just too special to keep for posterity


Every so often, the world slows down just enough to let us appreciate its full beauty and wonder, writes Michael Blucher

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How special was that blood moon? Nobody in our household could take their eyes off it. A giant orange orb, suspended in the night sky.

Implausible to think we were looking at something 385,000 km away. It seemed much closer.

I’m encouraged that so many slowed long enough to take in the magic of the moment. I could have done without the obsessive capturing of the eclipse on smart phone cameras. Hey look at this … a small red dot, surrounded by black. There’s a keeper.

That’s the astronomic equivalent of going to a concert and filming the action with your phone, instead of simply breathing it all in. Listening, watching, dancing like nobody’s watching. Just being in the moment.

If it’s not a stupid question, what exactly do people do with that grainy, indecipherable footage, the muffled noise, dots with sticks, 300m away? Do they ever watch it? Or is it simply for the purpose of social proof? Look at this. I was there….

Back to the blood moon – our night on the deck, gazing silently skyward, got me thinking about what else stops us in our tracks. What are the other tiny, momentary offerings of nature where we go “wow – how good is that?”

I started canvassing views, the special moments in the eyes of individuals, young and old, wise and wild, observant and oblivious.

Drawing no connection to the previous paragraph, my daughter loves gusty winds blowing leaves from trees and watching them flutter to the ground. Nature’s version of confetti, messy but mesmerising.

Hearing her words, my mind instantly defaulted to the image of my elderly grandfather bashing the branches of the large elm in his front yard, just so he could rake-up the leaves. It’s true, in his latter years, he didn’t have a lot to do.

My mate Mick admits to spending untold hours sitting in front of his chicken coop, watching his hens demolish their bowl of grain. The peck-peck-peck followed by the swipe right, swipe left of the beak, in search of the good stuff. Kind of like a poultry version of Tinder.

I’ve got another good friend who says he’d die happily, sitting around a camp fire, wine in hand, watching the red and yellow flames licking the logs, the occasional pop and crackle of kindling sending embers gently skywards. Most of us are with him, but why is it that the smoke invariably finds your face, regardless of where you sit? You move, it follows.
Thank goodness for the Shiraz.

The Pencil, so named because he’s tall and thin, has long been mesmerised by the skill and artistry of spiders, patiently and meticulously weaving their webs to catch their prey. “Where do they even start,” he asks. “Do they work in teams? Around the clock?”

Then just last week, running trails on Mt Coot-tha in the soft glow of dawn, The Pencil’s head torch zeroed in on a giant black blob, a split second before the sticky web wrapped around his face.

The fire trail must have been a good five metres wide. WTF? How long had that bastard been at work? The Pencil now hates spiders. He’s become more of an ant fan. Brave little creatures carrying impressively large loads on their backs, all in an orderly single file, accumulating together without dissent. He reckons the people in his office could learn a little from ants.

Another of my good mates, of English descent, loves nothing more than standing early in the morning on the balcony of his high-set inner-north apartment and gazing back to the city, the tops of the CBD skyscrapers poking through the heavy, low-set mist. I’m guessing that’s because he’s from London, where the morning fog’s so thick, you can rarely see past your nose. And there are bugger all balconies.

My wife marvels at the rainbow lorikeets supping on the nectar of the flame tree blossoms. Coming and going, not a care in the world. Apparently, lorikeets form lifelong bonds – remain committed to the one partner until they fly off up into that great nest in sky. That’s impressive in anybody’s language.

My favourite simple pleasure is looking out over a freshly mown lawn, brought to life by overnight rain, greener than green, edges perfectly trimmed, not a blade out of place.

It’s triggers a sense of pride. I think smugly to myself – blokes like Kerry Packer never experienced that, the simple satisfaction of mowing a lawn, and then dumping the cuttings in the pen of grateful chickens.

Poor Kerry. Deprived at birth. He must have been shattered to have lived such an incomplete existence.

Through the admiring eyes of others, dolphins diving and snakes slithering, passionfruit flowers unfolding, thoroughbreds parading in the mounting yard, their muscles rippling and coats gleaming, raring to race.

There were half a dozen or more who simply enjoyed sitting on the beach and marvelling peacefully at the power and disorder of the ocean, the barrels unfurling, with or without a surfer inside.

Yes, everywhere you look there’s something worthy of wonder.

Sadly, with the unnaturally cosy relationship many of us have with our smart phone, the risk is that these amazing sights and moments pass unnoticed.

The whole world for some – many – is just seven inches in front of them. The attraction of checking what others are saying and doing – the latest post of the most recent influencer – takes precedence over connection with the wilder world.

Put ‘em away people. Just for a minute or two, every now and then. And take in what’s going on around you.

You can always check the photos later. Somebody will have one, I promise you.

You can pretend it’s yours.



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