The tiny and hidden fascinate me. When I walk, eyes lowered, it isn't that I am missing the big picture. It's that I am looking at the small microcosms that are everywhere but are often overlooked or dismissed:
The marching ants carrying breadcrumbs to their queen.
The tiny, darting, silvery slippery fish swimming in and out of coral crevices.
The broken shards of pottery and glass where a house once stood centuries ago.
The minuscule pebbles and rocks that make the gravel road.
These are the worlds (for they indeed are whole, wide worlds) that have attracted me my whole life. When I look at a garden I of course see the large landscape of colors and textures, but I also see the ladybug working its way up a rose stem. I don't just see the wide expanse of the ocean as I stand on a beach; I also see the the grains of sand, the sea shells, the tiniest starfish.
I can see details in people, too. I will notice your new earrings or that you have trimmed your hair. I will be struck by the catch in your voice and know that your heart aches. I will see the twinkle in your eye and know you are about to tell me something amazing. I will see the tiny lines around the corners of your smile that tell me that you are tired, strained. I will sense the smallest twitch of your eye, and I will know you are anxious or upset.
It is, of course, a problem sometimes, in the practical sense. I bump into things frequently as I walk, head bowed, looking for bottle caps or interesting little objects that other people step over or kick aside. I can utterly forget the time when I am lounging in the grass watching a bee lap nectar from a nearby flower. I can overly prod a person to share their hidden feelings when they aren't prepared to discusses them with me. I can miss a sunset while contemplating initials carved in a tree trunk.
This attention to the small details of my environment made me want to create tiny little worlds myself. For a while I became obsessed with making terrariums. In one sits a smiling Buddha and a sea shell with a mini succulent I have no name for. I even have a tiny little glass necklace filled with live moss that I have to water, carefully, every month with a damp q-tip. And I couldn't bear to see our neglected goldfish swim in an empty bowl, so I filled it with a small rainbow cave and a blue female figurine to keep him company. Now he has his own mini space to hide in and a plastic friend to blow bubbles with.
And isn't that what we all want anyway? A space of our own, no matter how small? Don't we all want to be seen even when we feel insignificant and tiny in this large, crazy world?