I’m… one of those people… who just… take pictures of flowers… And blog about them… And I don’t even know anything about flowers!! Thus, I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to devote a whole blog post to the Cambridge University Botanic Garden, because what the heck would I write about? (That’s also probably why I never blog about museums.) But I loved these photos too much, and there were too many of them to cram into my 2 days in Cambridge blog post, which was already quite long. So here it is! A blog post about flowers!
The lavender field was our first stop in the botanic garden, though we didn’t mean it to be. We were following a map and making our way to some place else, and this lavender field was on the way. I point this out only to show how insignificant this lavender field was in the greater botanic garden; it was just a small part of the Garden Research Plots. Yet, Mom and Dad managed to take forever with their photos; Dad always takes forever, and Mom especially likes lavender because it’s a staple essential oil, and she’s really into essential oils. I mean, lavender fields are pretty, but they’re not by any means unique; they look pretty much the same everywhere they exist. I couldn’t imagine how long it would take us to get through the whole botanic garden if we were already spending this long at a lavender field!
And at every site, this process would be repeated: My brothers would look for Pokemon. I’d curiously inspect a few flowers before snapping a photo and then move on. Our parents would do a photoshoot for every flower and blade of grass. My brothers and I would break the peacefulness of the garden to pester our parents to hurry up, loud whispering across the fields. Our urgent whispers would pass through their ears like white noise. My brothers would go off to catch another Pokemon. I’d walk in circles until my feet were sore. Mom would finally finish with her photos. Dad would still be snapping away. Mom would resume snapping.
When we finally made our way out of the garden, I complained to Dad in an exasperated voice, “We spent all morning and early afternoon there! And all we did was look at flowers! And we still have so many other places to go! And I’m starving!” To which Dad brightly replied, “It’s okay! We enjoyed our time and the garden was beautiful. It was a perfect morning.” To which I grumbled, “For you maybe…” and continued in my head, “You’re not the one who spent half of the morning waiting.” *casts a glaring side-eye that goes completely ignored*
But now in retrospect, lying on a sofa, writing this blog post, feet rested, sipping on milk tea, I guess I see that Dad had a point. How annoying for him must it have been to have three kids badgering him the whole length of the garden when he was just trying to enjoy his time? How much better would my experience have been if I wasn’t worrying about making it to the next destination and crossing off all the items on our itinerary, which we didn’t anyway?
It really was the perfect morning. The air was cool and refreshing. The plants rustled faintly in the wind. The soft sun breathed through our veins. Perhaps we could have done with a picnic basket, but in all other ways we were full.
You’d think that I’d be more patient with my dad because I am also someone who takes a long time with photos, as many bloggers can relate to. But actually, I think this made me more impatient with my dad, because I know that I take a long time when it comes to these things, so when my dad takes four or five times the amount of time every time, it feels totally excessive to me. Sometimes, to be frank, it feels disrespectful of my time and other people’s time, especially since we had all gone out together, so we should be spending our time together, and we shouldn’t have to spend all our time waiting for you because you’ve gone off on your own. But anyways, that last point aside…
My dad takes all these photos but we never see any of them. My mom always gives him flak for spending so much money on cameras and lenses and not having anything to show for it. Maybe that’s another reason why we’re so impatient with his photo-taking antics (I love photography as much as the next person, but my dad seriously takes for-fckn-ever). But I think the point we often miss, that I often miss, is that he is taking these photos for himself, and just because he doesn’t display them for everyone to see doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have anything to show for it. In this world of social media, this idea might seem bizarre.
My dad is someone who, to put it mildly, trusts the process. I remember in high school I’d sometimes ask him to help me out with math problems, and then he’d launch into a long spiel on theory that wound in such a twisted way that I could not see the immediate relevance of his answer to my question but the relevance would no doubt be there. With a math assignment due the next morning, I did not have the time to delve into the history of theory! Of course, in the long run, going through this process would have served me better, but it’s hard to think about that when your eyelids are drooping and your handwriting is devolving into scribbles and all you want to do is hash out the assignment and go to bed.
This whole experience reminds me of the vlog I shared in my Friday Favourites, in which Steph x Happy and Healthy was talking about how we should start doing things for the pure enjoyment of it, and not as a means to an end.
As a blogger in this world of consumption where all anyone wants is more and fast, I think many of us can do with reminding ourselves to stop and smell the fckn roses! The cliche of cliches. But you know how when you hear about something over and over, it just becomes white noise? Well, I hope that if this cliche has become white noise for you, you give it another chance.
For the bloggers, the photographers, the creatives out there, when you’ve lost hope in the state of the industry, when you’ve had the last straw with Instagram’s algorithm, I hope you find it in yourself to trust the process, to believe in the art, to enjoy the frivolous beauty of flowers, to forget about having anything to show of it, to remember why you started, and to keep going.