Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Small is Big


I write a lot on death. I write a lot on death and on life and on everything in between. I write on not waiting until sixty or seventy to travel or paint or to spend time with the grandkids or to start that little business you’ve always wanted to start when really you want to do those things right now. I write a lot on the big things in life, on love and tolerance and purpose and passion. I write a lot on the big, the enormous, the grandiose. Today, I write on the small.

Because life really is about the small.

I always think of Seurat. Out of nothing but dots he could create the most insanely gorgeous paintings of entire afternoons. He could take dots, tiny dots, tiny pieces of color and bring them all together to put into one’s head images of picnics and dogs barking, boats sailing on sparkling clear waters and finely dressed ladies with bustles and parasols. I look at these dots and a sense of calm and peace and serenity washes over me. I am there. I am in that afternoon. And I love it.

Do you love the dots of your life?

If today were your last day would you be doing what you are doing now? While we tend to think of life as a whole, as the big picture, as the sunny afternoon in the park, really it is nothing but the dots we are throwing each day. It is nothing but the dots that make up that afternoon. It is about nothing but placing onto that canvas one beautiful dot after another. What makes your heart sing? Again, I am talking about the small here. What makes your heart sing?

I bought a pair of flip flops this morning. Summer is calling me. I am feeling the joy of long walks on the beach, treks through meadows of spring flowers and butterflies, and the feel of the warm sun on my bare shoulders. I have missed my good friend, Summer. It has been a long Michigan winter. It has been a long winter of scarves and gloves and too much snow. It has been a long winter of scraping ice off frozen windshields and stocking up on NyQuil Cold and Flu. It has been a long winter of hiding my skin in boots and jeans and dorky black sweaters. It has been a long winter, and summer is calling me. So I bought a pair of flip flops. They are gold with a bit of glitter and sparklies. They make my heart sing.

I had a great conversation with a good friend. She also is a writer, but really she says she is a fairy princess because, as she explains, when you tell someone you are a writer they smile and nod and say all wonderful things, but in their heads they believe you have been sprinkled with a bit too much of that fairy dust and should maybe come back down to earth, that many people write, yes, but that no one REAL is a Writer, no one EVER knows someone who has REALLY written a book and ACTUALLY had it published, and in all honesty, neither do you. You know as many fairy princesses, in fact, as you know writers. But, hey, you’ve got a book, AND you’ve got a crown and so you will be whoever the heck you want to be and to hell with everybody else. She makes me laugh, this friend of mine. She makes me laugh until I snort and tear up and spit my tea through my teeth.

I bought a book for a colleague. I think it will bring her joy. She doesn’t know she is getting it. I will surprise her with it this afternoon. But don’t tell. I want it to be a secret.

I spent some time in a sunny window putting words to page, sharing my thoughts with you. I am never certain why I feel the need to do this, but I cannot stop. I have tried. I have scolded myself in the past for believing that I am a writer and have thrown my words away. I have ripped them to pieces, hurled them to the ground, crushed a heel into them, spit on them, and then tossed them into the bin. When I get some sense back into my head, I pick the words out very carefully and with only two fingers, brush off the eggshells and coffee grounds, and proceed to philosophize again. Then I assure myself that while I may, indeed, be a writer no one cares much what it is that I have to say, that I write, yes, but for naught, always for naught. I have learned to ignore that part of myself. My heart says write and so, dammit, I will write.

It is noon. I have placed quite a lot of dots to the painting of my life today. They are beautiful. They make me smile. They bring peace and joy and serenity to my soul. They are the small, yes, but really they are the big. They are the big because, in the end, they are my Seurat.

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