living and loving in a small way

I love small things. Perhaps it began when I was very young and becoming aware of my relative shortness, and my father would assure me good things come in small packages. Or perhaps it's due to the quiet life I've given myself. Small seems to be the answer I land on more often than not.

When contemplating our civilisation's problems, I dream about the solution being small communities where we can have a deeper relationship with each other, our food, and the land.

When wanting to dip into the great conversation of hearts that has continued on down through the ages, I read small stories - not necessarily short stories, but ones about small, intimate moments, small concerns which swell the heart, small scenes which convey deeply felt events and emotions. The old fairy tales are especially good for this. And the old feminine classics: Austen's, LM Montgomery's, the Brontes'. Men too can write in macro, of course. Tolkien showed us how to create intimacies within an epic story. Robert Frost wrote about powerful ideas in small, quiet ways. But I do believe my favourite tellers of small stories are women.

I look always for small details, such as the layers within a rose, or the weight of a sigh. I try to photograph the small, write the small, link my days from small detail to small detail until I've made it a lacework.

I love small birds, small rings, small notebooks, small tea plates made from decorated glass (which I bought today and love for very deep, personal reasons that fill my heart and memory every time I look at one of these plates.)

I love my small country, where cows and sheep roam contentedly over grassy meadows and there are only two degrees of separation between everyone.

I try to keep my voice small (although I usually fail). It seems to me that speaking quietly is a quick way to create a gentle, loving atmosphere.

And I try to keep my thoughts focussing always back to the small: the heart of things. Because I think that is where truth lies.

Are you a small-picture person, or do you live on a larger scale?


  1. Life in miniature - the importance of life is in the detail. There are several writers that do this very well, one is Richard Jefferies who delights in writing about the minutia of nature. His book The Story of My Heart always brings a lump in my throat when I read it. Small is beautiful. I personally love small flower vases that hold tiny posies rather than huge bouquets. I prefer talking one to one with a friend rather than large parties and small intimate books rather than large epics. My little patch of countryside brings me joy to know it intimately - I will leave the rest of the wide world to others.

    It seems we are made of the same stuff Sarah.

    1. I haven't read Richard Jefferies, I shall look him up. Small flower bundles - oh yes, absolutely! I meant to add that to my list here, actually. I was talking to a friend about it just yesterday - about how I do not like lavish bouquets from the florist, I will always choose by preference a small gathering of wayside flowers (especially wild roses) and I'll put them in tea cups ... I prop them up with sea shells inside the cup ... (I intended to write a post about this, actually. Maybe I'll do that tomorrow) And I am the same regarding parties. And I've never had much inclination to travel, I far prefer developing a deep relationship with home. Thank you for sharing all of that, I wish I could hug you as you do indeed seem like a kindred spirit :-)

      But oh dear, liking small things doesn't prevent me from rambling on in comments, sorry!!

  2. Oh I do small things, little things that fill us with beauty. I love that picture, the cup, the plate and what looks like chocolate :) I love that you made it such a sweet experience to eat candy. I want to do that too. Your writing is so beautiful.

  3. Lovely: I try to keep my thoughts focussing always back to the small: the heart of things. Because I think that is where truth lies.

    i will do this today with a challenging situation. thank you.
    I think in general i am a small person, though in size tall ;-)

  4. I love small things, as well. The little things and moments are my favorite. <3

  5. Hmmm, this is a very interesting question. And not easy to answer.

    I love it here. So I certainly have "small tendencies."

    And I want to par down, on many of the things which try for my attention. That sounds "small" too.

    But how well, do I accomplish this paring down? That is the question....

    And how long has it been, since I have said Thank You! for all you give us, here???? Too long probably. But, now, it has been done. :-)

    Gentle hugs,

  6. you know, i like most ways, probably, i'm a small-focused person. i live a small but deep life, i'm a big believer in 'small is beautiful" in so many ways, i definitely think god/dess is in the details. but i also love great sweeping spaces, long vistas, epic tales, and spacious rooms...

    i do think that small stories---small in the sense of being very personal, and going deeply into one or a few things---convey a greater sense of things. you can describe a forest, or you can tell all about a single tree which you know very well: know it in all its seasons, by its leaves, nuts, blossoms, bark, growth pattern, its smell, everything. that seems deeper to me, and could, perhaps, kindle more understanding and love of trees than the sweeping description of the forest...

  7. Small bits of magic all the way! Yesterday I walked in the meadow to feed the chickens and just had to stop in the middle of a breeze swirling thistle down around me. Wish I had my camera with me to capture that moment with more than my memory.

  8. Oh yes, to the beauty and comfort of small. "I come in the little things, saith the Lord" is a poem I said over the small, sweet funeral we had once for one of our small hens. : ) We've spoken of this before, Sarah, of how Much there is in the everyday, in our small spheres. That is why I can be so happy at home, day after day. Finding authors who understand this is rarer than I would like. I did get a small armful of Julia Quinn books at the library today, upon your mention of her books...does she revel in the Small?

    P.S. I do like a big sky, tho'...with a circling of trees to contain it. xo

    1. No, Julia doesn't really revel in the small in the same way, except insofar as her stories are usually about relationships rather than grand events. I honestly don't think she will be your style, but we'll see :-) I might be surprised.

  9. Elizabeth WaggonerAugust 21, 2015 at 7:25 AM

    I don't know. I dream of big spaces - the western US: Mountains and room to move and breath without bumping into anyone - but I always see myself in tiny homes and close little nooks and dells within those big spaces. I prefer quiet, and calmness and the intricacy of the inside of flowers and the intimacy of small groups. Hmmmmmmm.