Small Things (or, More Observations Made in my Car)

“We were made for nothing more than this, finding magic in all the smallest things…”

That’s from Ed Sheeran’s song, Celestial, which seems to play constantly on the radio in my car. I like how he juxtaposes huge, heavenly images like stars and sky and clouds with this one little line about the smallest things. Because that’s what I’ve always found: the smallest things often open up the magic of the big and the divine. The small things are where we glimpse the ‘silver lining that surrounds the grey’, in Ed’s words.

One day, I see how snowdrops have appeared all along the road, just in time for the end of January. They are small but speak of bigger things, like the magic of seasons and darkness and growth in the hidden places. Of hope in the cold.

Then, a few days later, another small moment: my daughter notices the snowdrops, too. The shared observation and joy is magical in itself, because maybe she got that from me. Maybe I have managed to pass on some capacity for joy and gratitude and observation and love of nature. And maybe those things will carry her through the darker times of life, as they have me.

Sometimes, when my daughter is crying on the school run because she doesn’t want to go, or my son is having a meltdown because he has held it together all day and no longer can, I search rather desperately for the small things. Anything to distract, any tiny glimmer of colour to uplift, any little reminder that life is good. Raindrops on branches. Primroses in the hedge. The first lambs in a field. Occasionally, the less commonplace, like the swoop of a barn owl or the leap of a hare.

We collect the small things, and the act of collecting calms us and connects us. It’s still hard for my daughter to go to school, my son still gets overwhelmed, my husband and I still share wry, jaded glances as the overwrought kids pelt us with a torrent of abuse on the way home from days out. The small things don’t take the hard stuff away, but they keep us company and make the road a little easier.

What are your small things this week?

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