On finding time to do nothing

Flooded quarry, Warkworth, NZ. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Flooded quarry and old cement works, Warkworth, NZ. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

“There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want.”

— Calvin. Calvin and Hobbes, Bill Watterson

Calvin and Hobbes is my all-time favourite comic strip. Bill Watterson’s stories of a small boy and his stuffed tiger resonated with many people, and the wisdom and sheer laugh-out-loud craziness of Calvin and Hobbes is much quoted. When Mich at Mishunderstood invited me to take part in 3 Days, 3 Quotes, I knew I wanted to draw all my quotes from Bill Watterson’s genius.

Sunrise, Wenderholm Regional Park, Auckland, NZ. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Sunrise, Wenderholm Regional Park, Auckland, NZ. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

“There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want.”

I almost never do nothing. Indeed I don’t usually even manage to do not-very-much-at-all. But I’m trying. Trying to make time to stop and enjoy stillness, emptiness, quiet.

A couple of weeks ago the boy-child and I got up extra early and drove north to the regional park at Wenderholm to photograph the sunrise. We were a bit late for the sunrise, and the tide was out, but we enjoyed the walk and the chance to have a whole beautiful beach to ourselves.

Sunrise, Wenderholm Regional Park, Auckland, NZ. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Early morning, Wenderholm Regional Park, Auckland, NZ. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Afterwards, we drove on to Warkworth for breakfast, a walk along the river and a visit to the old quarry pictured above, which is now flooded and has become the local swimming spot in summer.

I don’t know if taking photos can still be counted as “doing nothing”, but on the basis that it was empowering to claim a few hours of peace and contemplation, and to share them with my son, I’m going to say they are in the spirit of Calvin’s wise words.

I’m offering this post as both as response to the 3 Days, 3 Quotes challenge, and to Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge at Lens and Pens by Sally, where this week the theme is nature.

Part of the 3 Days, 3 Quotes process is to nominate three bloggers to carry the challenge forward. Knowing that most of us have very full lives, I’m going to ask instead that anyone who would like to take part do so — maybe by working a favourite quote into a post you’re planning anyway.

25 thoughts on “On finding time to do nothing

  1. Lovely memories of time with your son–doing nothing is a misnomer. Can we really do nothing? Actually, your description is the best respite from anxiety and stress: nature, seeing our surroundings and being with a loved one. Happy Photo Challenge.


    • Thanks Sally. I agree; doing nothing really means not doing anything I feel forced to do. And the combination of early mornings, natural beauty and my son’s company is a powerful antidote to much of what ails. πŸ™‚


  2. Pingback: Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Nature (and Black Maple Seedpods) | Lens and Pens by Sally

  3. This was beautiful. We really do need to slow down to see that there are many inspiring and precious moments in the time we spend doing “nothing”.
    Thanks for participating in the challenge. πŸ™‚



  4. Hang on. You got a teenage boy out of bed before dawn?? AND out of the house?? How do you do that????

    Sounds lovely. A walk on the beach in the very early morning would be so peaceful.

    (But I still want to know your secret. Is it a magic spell or something?)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kind of magic; called photography. He is a very good photographer and is usually open to going somewhere new to take pictures. Early morning is such a novelty for him that the idea of seeing/photographing the sunrise is appealing. Admittedly, I also added a couple of extra sweeteners; I let him drive (he wanted the practice pre-driving test) and bought him breakfast in a nice cafe we found.


  5. Doing nothing can be very refreshing, and doing nothing with someone else is most companionable! I’m also on this challenge at the moment and, like you, not passing it on except in the most general terms. I think challenges can be useful if you can work in something you wanted to write about anyway – it gives you the chance to approach it differently – but I don’t like imposing on people. That’s my reasoning anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Anabel. I feel the same way. It is flattering to be included in a challenge, but I’m finding it difficult enough to make time for the things I want to post without trying to create new — unconnected — posts. I also like the idea of opening them up to anyone who feels they can make it work in their own schedule. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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  7. Pingback: 3 Days, 3 Quotes: wise beyond his (comic strip) years | Zimmerbitch: age is just a (biggish) number

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