Seeing the Little Things

Small Things

A dad, kneeling beside his little boy in a stroller, made me smile yesterday as I returned from a round of errands. They were near the end of our driveway so after parking, I had a chance to say hello. The little boy, who looked not quite two-years-old, leaned over the back of his stroller, looking at rocks, while his dad talked. Rocks are important to little boys. He finally clambered around and looked at me. His dad told him to say hello, so he did. We talked for a moment and they wheeled on down the sidewalk, the little boy saying, “Bye!” about ever four turns of the stroller wheels. I responded. And all of me smiled.

The same thing happened earlier in the week, the smile, I mean, when I noticed a red oak leaf outside my window surrounded by green leaves and took a photo. One of the nice things about photography is that it helps me really see. In taking the shot, I saw that the leaf wasn’t alone – it had a companion leaf under it beginning to turn. And I smiled.

The Fall Equinox came last week, you may have remarked on it. We’ve entered the astrological period of Libra whose symbol is the Lady of Justice holding scales in balance. There’s been little balance lately. You may have noticed that, too! That may be part of the problem – we see the imbalance, the chaos, the way-too-many-things-that-need-doing-right-now! and we scramble.

The thing is, we’ve been living like this for some time. Last evening, cleaning out the church website to post this month’s schedule and newsletter, and taking some time to check on other pages – the blog page drew my attention. In a blog post from 2008, I’d written about how chaotic the time felt and how much needed doing. Oh. We’ve been doing this for a while now.

Maybe we just need to get used to it. Life is different, more than it’s ever been. At least in my lifetime. And change doesn’t go backwards. But the changes seem so fast and so huge, it’s hard to encase them in our minds.

So much of the time the small moments slide by and we don’t notice or remark; another line at the corner of a friend’s eye; a baby’s fat sliding into muscle as the baby becomes a toddler; one red leaf in the midst of green. We slide past these moments until life becomes a waterfall of change, tumbling faster than we can see or count. And then it’s done, the season or life, and we move on. In one form, one way, or another.

I will give myself the task of noticing the little things. No doubt this is one way I can slow down my world: noticing. I will sit again in the mornings and look out my window instead of writing another daily to-do list. That’s a small step. My friend, the backyard willow, hasn’t begun turning yet. I will look at it carefully each day and notice when it does.

Remembering to center our lives around still, small points may serve us all. It gives us a chance to breathe consciously; it gives us a chance to smile.

What small moment makes you smile today?