When you live out here it is easy to see the big picture. All you have to do is climb to the nearest hilltop and take in the view.
From way up there you will see the Blue Buttes to the north, the creek bed lined with oak trees below, the rolling grasses and the stock dams under the big blue sky.
I like the view from up there, it puts me in perspective. It takes my breath away when I need something breathtaking and gives me a second wind when I am running low.
But for as much as we can all appreciate a great view from above it all, for me there has always been something magical about life on the ground level of the world.
I’ve written about it before, about taking a step off of the road to cut through the trees. I’ve written about looking down, about honing in on the soft petals of a flower or the way the dry grass glints in the sunlight.
All of those small things that live down there among the pebbles and budding seeds remind me that there is a world still unexplored and mysterious.
And kinda weird and disgusting.
I’ll tell you, out here, Husband and I are easily distracted by these sort of things. We spent this weekend cleaning up the construction debris that had accumulated in the yard of our new house. It wasn’t the most thrilling of tasks, throwing weathered pieces of broken siding, particle board and plastic warp into the back of the pickup only to unload it into the dump site and come back for another load, but Husband kept it interesting by hollaring at me to come and look at every creepy, crawly thing he found under the wood pile. He would take my guesses on what we would find as he flipped over big, heavy boards or moved sheeting.
I always guessed worms.
And hoped for something better.
It was like a treasure hunt, especially when we would discover a frog or a salamander.
Not so especially when we tallied up Husband’s spider count.
Husband hates spiders.
But the two of us share an affinity for reptiles and amphibians, both known to have kept lizards, snakes and frogs as pets in our lifetime. So when he yelled out “Jess! Found another salamander over here!” he wasn’t surprised that I was quick to throw down the current piece of junk I was hauling and drop to my knees to inspect the creature.
And then take some pictures.
I can’t imagine what Pops thought when he came into the yard to find me in the middle of our trash piling project pointing my camera into a dirt clump.
He did shake his head a little when I continued to interrupt our conversation with my obnoxious command at the pug to leave the salamanders alone.
My dad was so distracted by my break-up tactic that the man actually relocated the salamander to a safer spot to get me to shut up.
Pops is used to this sort of thing.
Anyway, this is the part where I ponder my fascination with the creatures that lurk and buzz and squirm below our feet. This is the part where I wonder why I’m so enamored with the tiny bodies and skeletal structure of the creatures who share my backyard.
But I don’t have much to say about it except that I know why I look down.
Because when I think all has been discovered, that there is no more adventure in the world, I just have to remind myself to look a little closer, to discover the barn spider and marvel at her web.
When I notice the perfect pattern on the salamander’s slimy back and the way the tiny frog blends in perfectly with the mud I am reminded that there’s always more ways to be in awe.
If I just remember to notice the small things.