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Finding Micro-Worlds in Nature


You probably know that if you look closely in nature you will find infinite views and compositions. Just stepping into my neglected front garden opens up multiple arrangements of colors and possibilities. A full range of browns and unusual shapes wend through this little patch of flowers and leaves. But the trick to seeing these is to get up close. When you crouch down and really look, you will find beautiful micro-worlds in nature.


If you take a few steps further, into my neighborhood, an amazing variety of colors awaits in the freshly fallen leaves. Last week, I walked down a wet, blue-gray, sidewalk to the library and noticed that it was strewn with tiny, yellow leaves. The contrasts of yellow on gray proved extremely eye-catching. On another day, my eyes were caught in a mesh of overgrown holly, red berries glimmering in the afternoon sun, providing a color contrast to the bluegreen leaves.


Over the recent holiday, my kids and I hiked through a dense nature preserve. The paths were covered in cypress leaves and each tree we encountered offered a different pattern of moss and bark. Along the creek there were dense tangles of tree roots barring the entrances to tiny sand caves. I started to envision shady paintings. As our eyes took in the beauty of dappled light and fall colors, we each became calm and peaceful in our own way.


Further away, are the formal gardens and museums. In these places, color and form are carefully cultivated. If one visits on a lookout for micro-worlds, they are sure to find them. I like to look for unusual scenes that fit neatly into an imaginary frame. You could call these bug’s eye views, but there is something more to it. It’s like another dimension that we don’t even acknowledge exists. I can photograph and paint them, but nothing beats the experience finding a micro-world.


You have to move slowly to find micro-worlds. You have to be intentional and present. I used to look for them as I walked into my office. I mentally framed snail shells stuck to leaves or clusters of fallen acorns. Just today, I noticed myself forming a micro-world in the floral department at the local grocery. I was mesmerized by the long, dense, stalks of potted arum lilies. These views are visual gifts. They invite the imagination to sink into their settings. I hope that you will find some beauty in the micro-worlds growing near wherever you may be.



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