Smart people remind us to appreciate the small things. The late Mojave desert artist Cathy Allen wanted people to “celebrate the minutiae, the micro, the humble, and the things often overlooked” when she opened a ten-acre interactive art installation called Sunvale Village several years ago. Visitors used the space to contemplate the importance of little ideas and to appreciate the small beauties of life. Because Cathy Allen was born in April, this week I’m encouraging you to get out and visit your own neighborhood and observe some of those new blooms courtesy of our wildly wet March.
This week’s Thing/Place/Sense (TPS) creative nudge uses the sense of sight to find something that blossoms in your neighborhood. The super bloom is in full swing but if you are like me and crowd averse, there’s nature nearly as colorful just steps from your door.
Find a weed or tree or bush with blossoms on it. Observe the flowers closely, paying attention to their color, shape, and size. Can you tell what kinds of pollinators they attract? Are the petals delicate and pastel, or bold and vibrant? What else is nearby? What else depends upon that flower?
Think about those even smaller life forms and write a story about the happiness little bugs and big birds experience when they find their favorite blossom. As you continue to observe the blossoms, imagine yourself as a tiny creature, exploring the petals and the pistils. What would it feel like to be so small, surrounded by such beauty?
If plentiful, pick and press a few into favorite books and be surprised to come across this secret bloom in an otherwise boring chapter. Go onto a neighborhood app and pen a haiku about the flowers in someone’s yard. Take a photograph and send it to someone you’ve been meaning to say hi to but forgot last week. Sit nearby for a few minutes and see who else stops to appreciate “your” flower as well.
After the seven minutes, take a deep breath and appreciate your sense of sight. Appreciate the natural world and find inspiration in its diversity and interdependence. For the rest of your day carry this reminder of the beauty hidden in small things.
Note: portions of this prompt created using the tool ChatGPT.