Appreciating the (Very Very) Small Things

It may be a cliché, but taking time to appreciate the little things is therapeutic. And after my struggles of the past couple of weeks I seem to have regained the ability to see things more optimistically. Thank goodness. There’s nothing like a peek into the blackness to make you run screaming back toward the light, proclaiming gratitude for everything you see.

As I was mowing the yard this weekend I noticed some tiny yellow “weeds” in one area. I realized that I hadn’t played with my macro lens for a while, so I went back outside and took some close up pictures of them. As often happens with macro photos, I was amazed at what I saw. Just look at this — and it’s only about a tenth of an inch across!

This little flower is only about a tenth of an inch across.

This little flower is only about a tenth of an inch across. (I think it’s called Black Medic.)

I can’t count the number of times I’ve yanked these things out and tossed them away without a second thought. But just look at that. And here’s another tiny treasure from the yard — this is common clover, the kind the bees love:

Clover flower, maybe a half inch across

Clover flower, maybe a half inch across

And speaking of our yard, I’ve begun to see our two acres in a new light as well. After our frustrations with the neighborhood came to a head recently, we started browsing the real estate listings for a larger property to cushion us from further construction (aka “progress”). In addition to looking for more acreage, our search was limited by the usual things: commuting distance, budget, type of road (no more dirt roads for us). We found a few promising listings and did preliminary drive-bys to check out the neighborhoods.  Boy, I had forgotten how a real estate ad can “forget” to mention the downside of each property. There’s some very creative marketing going on out there, believe me.

Certified Wildlife Habitat sign for our yard (605x800)All of which served to remind me that, even considering all the things we don’t like about our neighborhood and our road, we’ve got a pretty rare treasure here. Two acres of woods in the middle of a crowded and busy suburb, with lots of wildlife and plenty of privacy. Sure, it’s easy to get frustrated and complain about all the negatives. But I’m attempting to have more gratitude for the positives. And it seems that the closer I look, the more positives I can find.

You know that saying that “what you focus on expands”? If you’re always thinking “I hate this place,” your subconscious mind will work overtime finding more reasons for you to hate it. Believe me, been there, done that. But just today I proved that it works the same way if you tell yourself, “I really love this special place.” Your mind suddenly starts showing you why it’s special. Like this:

Two inch-long tiny toad

Two inch-long toad, another little thing.

And this, a not-so-tiny thing:

Fawn eating my flowers

And this:

House Wren

And this:

Northern Flickers in early breeding season

And this tiny feather:

Feather macro

Every time I try to write about gratitude I feel like people will read it and think, “Yeah, yeah, gratitude journals, mindfulness, count your blessings, whatever, life still stinks.” It’s true that life can be very difficult, but I’m learning how my mind has the power to control how I feel about some of those things that upset me and how I respond to them. And using my mind for gratitude instead of complaining seems like a no-brainer to me.

And did you know that you can instantly lift your mood just by smiling? Whether you’re with other people or alone, try it now and see for yourself. It really works. And it works even better if you look in the mirror when you do it. You’re welcome. :)

Thornton Wilder quote on my photo

About Kim Clair Smith

Writer, birder, nature lover, highly-sensitive person (HSP), amateur photographer, kayaker, hiker, book lover. I blog here to connect with other nature lovers and sensitive people: http://www.natureismytherapy.com. All photographs and writing on this blog are © Copyright Kim C. Smith (unless otherwise indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission.
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17 Responses to Appreciating the (Very Very) Small Things

  1. Jules says:

    Insightful, uplifting, and so very true! I love the pics, especially the deer. Thank you for making me smile at 2 AM (at work) :-).

  2. One word……..serenity……..those pictures send a warm peaceful feeling over me. Thanks Kim.

  3. Judy Parzych says:

    Your post and beautiful pictures were just what I needed after a difficult week. You have reminded me of all the beauty that is to be found in the small things and the power of nature to nurture our souls.

    • I’m so glad this post helped you, Judy, and thanks for telling me that. Knowing that other people find my work useful is very motivating to me. I hope you’re having a wonderful day today.

  4. Littlesundog says:

    The macro lens really gives us a new perspective! Your photographs are stunning, and your perspective on the little things of life is inspirational. The Northern Flickers are one of my favorite birds. We see them mostly in the winter months here in the south. I always feel winter has officially arrived when I see them in our woodlands!

  5. Every time I read about gratitude Kim, I love it. So keep it coming! :)

  6. Rob Weir says:

    What a wonderful start to my day. Love your posts Kim, and your photos.

  7. Wonderful post, Kim. I like that saying that “what you focus on expands.” I know those final few months before our home sold in Kamloops all I could see was the negative. Confirmation bias at its worst.

  8. Beautiful pictures and words!

  9. Annecdotist says:

    Isn’t it lovely to get down close to nature? I found, like you, that’s what I thought were weeds were transformed into beautiful wildflowers once I began to discover their names.

  10. trudyjohnson says:

    Your photography is fantastic, your subject matter a well written, timely reminder. Thank you.

  11. You are such a bright light! Thanks for shining fore other who struggle with darkness!

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