Bird Droppings May 23, 2011
Small is many times BIG
Yesterday I took care of my grand daughter so my son and his wife could spend the day with some friends at Six Flags over Georgia. I find it amazing how a conversation with a five month old can be so enlightening. Her eyes sort of watched as I spoke about the various sounds we heard as we walked around the yard. A morning dove was cooing and I called back. A mockingbird called in one of its many voices. A woodpecker hammered away in our old black walnut tree and I pointed out the holes almost out of view. We sat down at my special place in the back of the yard where I sit and meditate and still early in the day the spider webs were glistening in the rising sun. I explained how the threads of life are woven through all things. After our walk we went in and had breakfast and read, The grumpy caterpillar by Children’s book artist and author Eric Carl. My grand daughter is barely an arm full and yet the wisdom of youth shows in her eyes.
“I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.” Laura Ingalls Wilder
Last week a student asked about a plaque hanging on my wall. It is rather simple one, just a slip of wrinkled paper with the word pass written on it. Why you have a piece of paper hanging up, I was asked. It got me thinking about a day many years back when I was finishing my masters degree. I was looking at some power point slides as we waited between committee meetings at Piedmont College. This process was the culmination of two years work and studies and at Piedmont College entitled the capstone. As I think back and relate to what a capstone is within an arch it is that which hold all together. Our project was a summary of all we learned in two years.
As I thought back nearly nine years now, one set of slides was of my son’s old ten gallon aquarium, a nano reef or mini reef for those less verbally aware. The object is you can have a beautiful salt water aquarium in a small space with very small creatures. The up keep is actually significantly more than a larger tank because there is no margin of error in a small tank, but when you start looking at these tiny almost insignificant creatures they become breathtaking. In the space of ten milk cartons an entire world exists. A two and a half inch pistol shrimp lives in a burrow with a three inch blenny a small fish. The blenny is very wary and the shrimp is blind when trouble seems to be coming the blenny pulls the shrimp back in the hole. When a tasty morsel is coming the fish encourages the powerful shrimp to grab it. In that small space two tiny creatures working together in a symbiotic relationship.
A few days ago one of the teachers brought in a tiny green tree frog they had caught we arranged a little cage for observation. Over the years I have found the world close up can be more fascinating than great big world we live in. There are pieces revealed that may other wise go unseen and life takes on a different aspect. Often I enjoy my macro lenses more than the telephoto. Seeing up close often reveals bits and pieces we might never see otherwise.
“Nothing exists until or unless it is observed. An artist is making something exist by observing it. And his hope for other people is that they will also make it exist by observing it. I call it “creative observation.” Creative viewing.” William S. Burroughs
So often we miss the small pieces always intent on the big and little bits of life will pass us by. As we used to watch my sons nano reef explode when he dropped in a feeding solution of microscopic particles of plankton, algae and such. I do not even see what the tiny corals anemones and polyps can sense in the water, closed animals open into beautiful living things seeking their prey. Soon after glimpsing the power points I was handed a small piece of paper with my name on it written in blue ink and the word in capital letters PASS on it as well. That was the closure to two years of study and a door to another journey. I took my note and placed in a frame on my wall at school a reminder of how so often small things can be so important. Amazing how a small piece of white copy paper can be so significant. Please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts.