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  • Writer's pictureBetty Girardeau


Last year I thought it would be fun to take a picture of the trees in my back yard every month on the same day so that at the end of the year I could see how the seasons progressed in that one spot. I made a note on my calendar to remind me to take this picture so that I would not forget. Last year we had a very early spring, and maybe that was a good thing given that we were pretty much shut down by mid March and needed the more positive feelings that spring usually brings us. The above images are February, March, and April of last year all taken on or around the 6th day of the month. The difference between each is pretty startling, isn't it? Like most everything that is part of our daily lives, we don't always take note of the progression that is always happening around us. We can even become surprised when we actually look at ourselves in the mirror and suddenly see an old face looking back at us instead of the young person we still like to consider ourselves to be. Or we consider our homes to be pretty clean until we see a dust bunny rolling across the floor. We have missed seeing these progressions often because we are too busy or we are taking every day a little bit for granted until, finally, something makes us take notice. Maybe noticing ourselves and others growing old is not something we particularly want to do, except when watching the development of a small child, and I certainly do understand that! But daily we have so many little things that can be a joy to behold as they move on and become. Lori Deschene, who writes daily on-line mindfulness blogs, has said that she believes that " is in the details. She goes on to say, "Simple pleasures throughout the day can be far more gratifying than one amazing weekend. When you connect the dots between all these little joys, life seems fuller and more satisfying." And I was pleased to see that in his article "Eight Ways to Retrain Your Brain to Notice the Little Things"Jason Womack has listed carrying a camera with you and using it as his second suggestion. I couldn't agree with him more. He writes, "Carrying a camera with you is actually a great way to become more in tune with your environment. When I have my camera, I’m always looking for the next shot. It helps me notice the little things that I might not have noticed if I weren’t looking. My camera is a reminder of the fact that there is more to see, if I’ll stop to see it." That is exactly what I was thinking when I decided to take those pictures of the trees in my back yard every month for a year. I think we too often compartmentalize our lives because of the big things that we think are more important: jobs, family, relationships, even "to do lists," that we begin to ignore the little things. But when we do that, I think, we are not doing justice to those big things either. Because without the little things, like the changing colors of the sun as it rises and sets, or the sounds of a song bird, we are minimizing or ignoring those things that are there to enrich us. Without noticing them, how can we be our best selves with the big things? Kurt Vonnegut says it far better than I can. “Enjoy the little things in life because one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things."

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