A Big Deal


I love Small Things.

A box turtle! I was told by the resident herpetologist (which has nothing to do with herpes, mind you) on staff at USGS that this colorful pal o' mine is a male.

I was mentioning it to my sons last night, as I recalled a blog I wrote several years ago (now lost. “Thanks so much, Yahoo 360°,” he said, rolling his eyes…) about a squirrel. The  critter, in a battle with a couple blue jays high up in an oak tree, managed to drop a nut on my head. How unpredictable the universe is. Of all the random moments, in all the world, that something could drop from the sky; in all the desperate extra-species battles ever conducted in a tree, it’s amazing–a blessing of uniqueness, even, that at that every moment, I would be collateral damage in a nut bombing. The universe is capricious. Even fun. My children’s original question was if a squirrel had ever shit on my head. My answer was no. I think that, to my boys, it was a bit disappointin’ that I would miss the annointin’. I guess I should thank heaven that squirrels and jays don’t fight with grand pianos and Acme safes.

Tiny mushrooms, barely 5 mm in diameter, and an early growth of autumn moss.

Around that same time, I blogged about a frog in a bush. I didn’t see the frog. He was in the bush, peeping merrily, unafraid of human invasion, or anything that might view little froggies as a crunchy-yet-delicious treat. He wasn’t afraid of tomorrow, or the next day. He just chirped his little frog song, and rolled his eyes at any future, or any doom. Frogs songs are best heard live.

The sharp contrast of moss, tiny mushrooms and a fallen tupelo leaf.

Around that time, I was in deep throes of depression without really recognizing it. When everything else in the world annoyed me, or seemed to be attacking me, Small Things were my salvation. I’d hear the frog song, and literally weep with joy that the universe would favor me in such a way. It was the Small Things I could grasp when everything else was too large.

Since then, I haven’t lost my ability to marvel at tiny things.  Symmetry of a hickory nut sparks my mind. I smile at the innocence of a puddle, or a mushroom’s yearning to paint brightness in an otherwise-drab forest. I even nod, both amazed and annoyed, as I pass through a swirling cloud of gnats. Since I carry my trusty iPhone with me, I’ve been taking the occasional photo and posting them to my Facebook page.

A puddle after an autumn storm.
I posted this picture because you may have asked yourself if Nature can create a perfectly spherical object. What is that little ball in the upper left-hand corner? A nut? an acorn cap? a stone? And why shouldn't nature create spherical things?

Are you captivated by Small Things? If there is order in the universe, beyond what which we’ve scratched and strived for, using nothing but hardware and fingernails; if there is indeed a God that brings order to The All, It’s my belief that this Being smiles on the Small Things. They bring order to chaos, and add brightness to the unbearably dark places. Small things cheer me up. Or maybe I’m just in the crazy throes of another bout with depression.

But before you indict me, I urge you to look around awhile and tell me if I’m right. It won’t cost anything but time, and you may be paid back thousandfold. Small Things reframe your sense of time, and reprioritize your agenda. They remind you of your fragility, and toughness, and your own deep beauty.

One last 'shroom and then I'm done...

And think about it–if all the small things tried to gang up on us, we wouldn’t stand a chance! Fire ants (which, thankfully, I’ve never experienced) are barely 3 mm long and can incapacitate a human. Piranhas are only scarcely larger than my hand. Mushrooms, in their two-week lifespan, release millions of spores to propagate their kind, and are the first line of assault in the fight to “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.” Speaking of small, beautiful, and dangerous things: my wife is only 5’6″, and has tiny little feet, but she can bust my butt any day of the week. I may be huge, but hope I make a case: I do love me some Small Things. They’re totally worth it. I strongly recommend them, and hope you’ll join me, this day after the equinox, in celebration of those who are Tinier-Than-Thou.

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4 thoughts on “A Big Deal”

  1. Tinier than me?! Not possible 😉 There’s a great comfort in creation for me. Beauty…happens, and I had nothing to do with it. Hallelujah!

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  2. I really like the pictures that accompany this one. I constantly forget to appreciate the small things. Life moves so fast, it’s sometimes hard to find time to slow down and appreciate the small stuff. Great reminder.

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  3. “Perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.” – G. K. Chesterton

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