animal, Key West Field Guide, vo•cab•u•lar•y

(adj.) extremely small

On nature walks, I tend to get caught up trying to remember the names of the flowers, the sea beans, the sea shells, the wildlife. Each familiar plant or animal gives me a friendly face to greet.

I’m never lonely in nature, even when I am alone.

But occasionally, the world seems too big, too crowded, too busy, too much. Sometimes, I need to shrink the world to recover the joy of getting lost within it. Micro-shelling changes my perspective. It narrows the world to only what I choose to focus on. Instead of seeking knowledge, I avoid it- and often find inspiration in the process.

Walking with purpose changes to sitting with possibility.

With my eyes only inches from the land, the view morphs from the constantly shifting sky, shore, and sea to a still band of bland sand. Instead of minutes, time slows to seconds… then heartbeats. Eventually colors, shapes and textures begin to reveal themselves.

Instead of identity and quantity, I find diversity and curiosity.

How many different organisms can I find? How many colors? How many shapes? Biotic or abiotic? How big is too big to count? What’s the smallest individual? Is something so tiny a juvenile or an adult? Why did it die if the shell has no damage?

For a few moments, there’s just questions that don’t need immediate answers or even responses. I think this is the true sense of wonder.

Wonder holds no pressure and carries only inspiration.

It opens us to moments that leave us wanting more.

Knowing answers is satisfying, but discovering questions is motivating.

If we only ask closed questions with answers that can be tested or memorized, we risk losing the joy of curiosity and discovery. And that’s what makes each new day an adventure, instead of an ordeal.

Sometimes we just need to change perspective to find the beauty in the chaos.


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