Thursday, January 31, 2008

The little things

Essentially, this is another post on perspective. My oldest son got a hold of the camera the other day and took some photos. I really liked how some of them turned out. He needs some work on his subject matter, but that's OK. Here's a sample:

This is my wife's guitar case next to our Thanksgiving tree. (we're still thankful, why should we take it down?)
This is the control to our stove top. I wish you couldn't see the dirt and gunk in the little slats there.
This is a picture of a cabinet at the bottom of our book shelves taken through the slats of the rocking chair.
This is a picture of our Dr. Seuss collection. The man was a literary genious.

This is a close up of some old molecular models that I used in organic chemistry a long time ago. The boys like to play with these and build things. I think it would be a lot of fun if I could still name the structures that they made. I can't. I think higher of myself for that.

Now we're getting at what I wanted to write about today. The little things, like this molecule are really the big things in life. I was looking at some pictures a friend posted on his Facebook page and was impressed at some of the places he had been. He had pictures from England, Spain, Tokyo, St. Louis, Hawaii and California. I think those are just the places that he has visited recently (he's a pilot, he gets around quite a bit). Of course I'm jealous and wish I could visit all those places, but at the same time, I'm glad that I haven't.

My boys were reading a book the other day about John Muir and there was part where a little girl asked him to show her around Yosemite (I think that's where it was). John Muir told her no, that she would not appreciate it and then handed her a magnifying glass and told her to learn what was around her. Only after she had learned to understand and appreciate the little things around her would he give the girl a tour of the great things of Yosemite. Without an understanding of the microscopic world that is the building block for everything, you can never really appreciate the great things.

I'm relatively new to the area in which I live. I am quite competent at getting to school and back, but I really don't know my way around very well. I do, however know my route to school fairly well. I know about the owl that lives in the area. I know about the ducks in the swampy area and the rabbits that live in the nearby bushes. I have seen the deer roaming around and the hawks hunting over the fields. I travel through that area at all times of day and night and I am in a quiet enough vehicle that I don't scare away the wildlife around me (except the ducks, they seem to fly away every time). I have a certain understanding of the area that I feel that few others have. It gives me a different perspective and understanding. There is a certain beauty in watching the owl circle over a field before diving down and catching dinner. Is it as spectacular as some of the views I've seen while hiking Mt. Timp? No. But without the perspective of the integral relationship between all the animals and plants, would I really appreciate what I was seeing? I don't think so.

One of my goals in life is to live in the midwest for a bit. (My wife is going to hate me for this.) Not because I have any attraction to what is there, but because I don't understand it. God created all that is on this earth and made it beautiful. If I don't see the beauty of Nebraska, I want to learn to understand the land well enough to see the beauty. I don't think that we can fully appreciate the great wonders of this world if we can't appreciate the world immediately around us. I still want to see the Himalayas and the Appalachian trail, but I will regret that I don't understand it as well as I should. The true beauty of things lies in the simple building blocks working together to make such a complex system.

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