The importance of doing nothing

In our modern world, we are all tempted to work as hard as possible all the time. The goal is to always finish just one more thing, read just one more article, or comment on just one more Facebook status. We are all prone to becoming victims of information overload as we try to absorb everything we can and keep up with everyone we know. But it’s just not possible. There is nothing we love more than a trip to the cottage. It’s quiet. It’s beautiful. It brings us closer to nature. It keeps us inspired.

We tend to place a high value on hard work (read: being busy). In contrast, we place very little value on quiet time for reflection.

Sit there. Don’t read. Don’t talk.

Sitting on the dock at the edge of the lake, is where I find it easiest and most natural to do nothing–just sit and listen. I listen to the wind in the trees, the water lapping on shore, birds singing, dragonflies buzzing around the dock.

I watch clouds float past slowly changing shape. I am mesmerized by the pattern of waves on the surface of the water occasionally broken by a passing boat. If I’m lucky, I’ll see a loon hunting minnows.

These periods of doing nothing may be the best thing we can do to encourage creativity and imaginative thought. For example, try to think of the last time you had a great idea. It was probably while you were relaxed and doing (next to) nothing. For most of us, this happens in the shower.

Why the cottage? At home, I’m surrounded by reminders of all the things I’m not getting done. At the cottage, there are no reminders.

This is why, at the peak of wedding season, I’m usually off to the cottage doing absolutely nothing.

The only thing better is having the luxury of photographing other people in their happy place doing nothing.


Black and white film photo of northern Ontario lake shot on medium format camera.
Shot on Medium Format camera using Kodak Tri-X 400 black and white film.