In moments of fuzziness—where what I should be doing is unclear, or uninviting—I sometimes find my way to Unsplash. If you don’t know, Unsplash is a repository of images, posted by the photographers themselves, which are entirely free to use and abuse. Some of the images posted are breathtaking. Mountains, waterfalls, rivers, luscious meadows and valleys, great forests—the normal, awe-inspiring stuff. Typically, these images are accentuated by the sky. By clouds, by stars, by unusual diffusions of light that make a mountain or a river look mysterious or intriguing. It’s enough to inspire a certain wanderlust. I know, because many times while exploring the Unsplash archive, I’ve told myself that I should travel more and try to see these vistas through my own eyes, rather than through a screen.
However. I don’t think witnessing these views in reality and being struck dumb by them requires great expeditions. We don’t need to head to the rocky trails of Peru, the picturesque valleys of the Alps or some untouched forest in the Far East. No. Everywhere we walk, a great vista is available to us. We just have to look up.
Most of us don’t live in the back garden of mountains. Most of us can only dream of living in the environments that are captured by these photographers. But we all live under the sky. At any point we can tilt our heads back and be overtaken by a sense of smallness. Wherever and whenever we are, we can gaze upwards and get lost in the endlessness that is the sky and everything that exists beyond it. As Bill Bryson said in Neither Here Nor There, “You have no idea how immense the sky is until you try to monitor it all.”
Experiment for yourself. Instead of daydreaming of travelling, of glorious views and sights so profound they strike you dumb, try to see the sky above you in its entirety.