Sunday, June 21, 2009

forests and trees

the expression goes, one can't see the forest for the trees.
meaning we get so focused on the details, the little things, that we're unable to see the big picture, the whole story.

well, I have the opposite problem.
sometimes I can't see the trees for the forest.

I'm looking at the big picture, the scheme of things, how it all works together and what it might entail, when the little pieces of the puzzle are crying out for attention: look at me! see me! deal with me!
I am so busy viewing the overall effect that I often neglect to see how one small thing can change the entire schematic.

today I went out into my garden and was overwhelmed by the forest. there are hundreds and hundreds of plants and at least a thousand little weedy things and trees and bushes and greenery growing on top of greenery. I often look at it and become immobilized by the immensity of the forest.
but this afternoon I decided to just tackle one small tree: a limited portion of the pretty green weeds with the sweet yellow flowers. as I started digging them out, one by one, my forest of a garden became more real to me, less threatening, less of an immense forest. as weeds disappeared I began to see individual plants: day lilies and columbine and roses and other nameless forms of flora. my forest began shrinking down to a more manageable tract of land, all because I was able to focus on a few trees instead of the totality.

I guess what it really comes down to is learning how to view both individual trees and the wonder of the entire forest at the same time. to slow down, take a deep breath, and accept both ends of the spectrum.
because ultimately, we can't have that forest without the glory of each individual tree, and those trees all become more glorious and meaningful when they join together to build a forest.

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