Something Small

Everything has meaning no matter how small and unimportant it seems. Sometimes the smallest everyday objects contain the most interesting stories. It just takes a mindful person to be able to take the time to explore each seemingly unimportant detail. Then by expanding a seemingly insignificant object into a meaningful idea, one it has a large impact on the world.

In the essay Children in the Woods, by Barry Lopez, it says “I stopped suddenly, caught by a pattern of sun- light trapped in a spiraling imperfection in a windowpane. A stranger, an elderly woman in a cloth coat and a dark hat, spoke out spontaneously, saying how remarkable it is that children notice these things.” Noticing seemingly insignificant details is a rare skill. The old woman has lived a long life and has learned the importance of details in everyday life. “I think children know that nearly anyone can learn the names of things; the impression made on them at this level is fleeting. What takes a lifetime to learn, They comprehend, is the existence and substance of myriad relationships: it is these relationships, not the things themselves, that ultimately hold the human imagination.” This excerpt from the essay shows that children with a strong creativity, recognize the importance of the relationship between life rather than just a part of a whole. That the forest is more than a spot on a map, that it contains life, “the high note of the winter wren oh, the thick perfume of propolis that drifts downwind from Spring Willows, the brightness of wood chips scattered at by Beaver – that all this fits together.” As people grow older and get distracted by work, money, and fear, they begin to lose the ability to spot these details. Life gets degraded into labels and numbers even though all life has meaning. 

In the video Scavengers, the astronauts have a daily routine to complete a series of objectives. Although this takes place on a strange planet, parallels from reality are shown. They exploit the resources around them without hesitation and abuse the wildlife without remorse. They kill an alien embryo for its egg and mercilessly dismember another creature to be used as a temporary telescope. Every time they destroy a creature’s life the astronauts use them just as tools, displaying their disregard for life. And it is just a part of the schedule; everyday, the astronauts recklessly extract the natural resources from defenseless wildlife, giving them not another thought. They do not feel like what they are doing to the environment is significant enough to make a huge impact, especially when the astronauts do it everyday. They view wildlife as resources, treating them as just a necessary step working towards an end goal: a means to the end. In life, people tend to disregard the daily routines, seeing them as just steps in the process to achieve a goal when each small step makes a huge change: not just toward the future, but directly to their own character.

The 99% Invisible podcast Mojave Phone Booth, is about a man’s curiosity with a phone booth in the Mojave Desert. Although it seems insignificant as it is placed in the middle of nowhere, he finds the phone number to the booth and calls it multiple times a day waiting for an answer. Even though it had spent months of unsuccessful calls, he knew that the phone booth was important in some way. He visits the booth and publishes a website dedicated to it with its number displayed. People from around the world would share their stories with the man when they just needed someone to talk to. The Mojave phone booth was more than a phone booth, it connected the lives of people around the world. Through their stories, people realized that others had a life just as complex as their own. Even the phone booth had its own story: surrounded by broken glass and riddled with bullet holes. It would be amazing to investigate each detail of that phone booth and uncover its history. Who knows? That small, isolated phone booth could have intercepted an alien transmission, or potentially shielded someone from a spray of bullets. 

People forget to appreciate the everyday moments with friends and family; when it is the regular Tuesdays that build relationships. Do small actions that make you and others happy, even if it seems unimportant or unproductive. Life is not meant to be won, but experienced, the good moments and the moments you want to skip. Because even those seemingly bad moments could greatly impact your future for the better.

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