Posted by: coloradokiwi | March 18, 2009

Life At Ground Level

Speaking of the pastoral life:  the other day I was outside playing around on the grass with my daughter.  She has learned to recognize and hold court on the existence of bees, flowers, rocks and “wet” things.  However the overwhelming majority of her landscape is completely unutterable and mysterious to her, and dwelling on this, I began to look at my environment a little more carefully.  Specifically, since she had managed to pin me to the grass face down, while we giggled away I noticed that really I wasn’t on grass at all, but rather a verdant forest of different kinds of weeds, clover, and various other plant life—although grass dominates the lawn, on my particular patch there was none.  I began to see flowers everywhere that I hadn’t really noticed.  There were of course daisies nearby (which, I’m not sure if I ever knew, have magenta tinting just at the very tips), but I also noticed that there was a particular patch of grass-like stuff that wasn’t grass but which had an upper layer, a sort of canopy, on which tiny purple-green flower buds were sprouting.  From only a foot away you would never be able to spot them.  Woven throughout some of the clover were teensy vines of some sort, which had spurs on them that resembled individual broccoli buds, or perhaps miniature leaves.  There was also bountiful wildlife:  tiny spiders, mites, a slug, itty bitty little bugs that were slender, black, and sort of tear-shaped, the sort you can see at the center of sunflowers.  Right under foot (or rather, under face) there was an entire ecology thriving, where on any given day I would look out and note, if at all, the utter banality of “the lawn”:  an unremarkable patch of green like any other.

It occurred to me that I could not remember the last time that I actually looked carefully at what the ground actually contained.  I feel foolish and profligate that, had I not been rolling around on the grass and thinking about it from my daughter’s point of view, how many more years would have passed (or maybe my entire lifetime) without taking the time to notice.  There is so much of the world that I take for granted in far more stark ways than I realize.

I won’t try to dress this up to be any more profound than it is, and the implications are obvious (anyway, if you’d rather cultivate fond memories of Honey, I Shrunk The Kids rather than ponder the deeper meaning of life, that’s okay, too).  Nonetheless, lesson learned:  take the time to live life at ground level now and then.  If a bit of ground won’t do, then a fence line, a nook at the corner of the house, a secluded part of the park…whatever.  Just really look at all the tiny stuff happening—like really stick your face in there and see as small as you can see.  You will undoubtedly be treated with a dramatic little world.  As we’re only given one life on this planet, it should be spent at least in part soaking up the dizzying splendor it has to offer.

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