• Mary Anderson

The Beauty of Small Things

The views out here are really affected by the smoke. The sky is hazy and I no longer have the far-reaching spectacular views from the ridgetops. I admit, I am a bit disappointed. There is less reward each time I reach a summit.

As a result, I’ve decided to change my focus. Since the fires are literally making my worldview smaller, I’ve decided to focus on the small stuff. The flowers are going by, but I’m finding incredible beauty in the seedheads, both of the flowers and of the many grasses. I’m noticing the rocks even more than I usually do, and I am paying attention to the different barks of the trees in a way I never have before. Some are covered in a very bright green lichen. The patterns the lichen makes varies from tree to tree. I’m noticing the shapes the sap makes as it drips out of the pines and runs down the bark. I watch the insects as they crawl around on top of the flowers.

I think about how easy it is to see the beauty in the young and in the spectacular. Too often the beauty of the old or minute is bypassed for bigger or newer things. But I love the pattens of each tiny snowflake in winter. I marvel at life revealed under the microscope. And I have a special fondness for well-used, well-aged hands. They tell a lot about a person, and I find them beautiful.

Maybe we need to teach all young children to appreciate the beauty in the plants going to seed. Maybe we need to reject more vehemently society’s message that young is beautiful, and gray and sagging is ugly. If we older folks embraced our aging, gray-haired bodies as beautiful, knowing they tell the story of the lives we have lived, perhaps younger people would not feel they had to spend so much time on looking young and beautiful. Maybe society could stop fearing getting old and instead find the beauty in It. It would be great if younger folks could learn to appreciate the older ones more, recognizing the wisdom and the stories they have to tell. Just thinking about it makes me want to write a book about the stories of different hands.

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