A few years ago I was with one of my young nephews and his Dad. They were on a short visit to Wellington and we were in a lovely bush reserve. My nephew saw the rocky stream and asked his Dad whether he could stop and “look for the small things”. Sadly time pressure was against him lying on the low bridge and looking into the water, or for him to wade into the stream and lift the rocks, to see what might be swimming in any small still pools, to float leaves and twigs or to seek out the tiny living creatures that can live in our streams.
His words have stayed with me since then and often come to mind. This afternoon when I felt a real need to get out into the garden I thought of looking for the small things as I weeded and tidied.
So what did I find? I was delighted to find the maidenhair fern had regenerated under a covering of leaves off the magnolia tree; I noted the terracotta saucer had filled with rain water and realized that the small birds had been enjoying a bath in it; the wax eyes had hollowed out an overripe apple I had hung in the tree for them to eat, leaving just the rounded skin; that forget-me-nots have seeded heavily and are looking lush with growth; that the Japanese maple branchlets are turning deep winter red; that beneath leaf litter the most amazingly dark, fine, soft soil forms and that there are a lot of big fat earth worms in the area of soil beneath one of our kowhai trees.
My focus and attention was on the small things today but the big result was that I came indoors feeling very refreshed and clearer.