I’ve been thinking small this week. Not small as in narrow-minded or short-sighted, but appreciating smallness. There’s the tiny hands of my newborn grandsons with their perfect miniature fingernails. (I know, I’m obsessed with these new little people…I just can’t get enough of them!)
And then there’s the funky small Burbank airport where you walk out of your regular sized airplane outdoors onto the tarmac into an old fashioned small terminal building. And then discover that the baggage claim carousel is outdoors!
I’ve also been noticing all the small signs of spring–especially in my backyard. I noticed the small plum tree beginning to bud and bloom.
And the lavender plant is beginning to flower. I love when I lean in, I can see the tiny little flowers that make up the larger blossom.
Arriving in Washington, DC for the National Writing Project (NWP) Spring Meeting, I found myself thinking about how so often I think of myself as a small cog in the huge machine that is our government. It’s easy to think that your voice isn’t important–that someone with a louder voice, a stronger opinion, or a bigger soapbox will take care of providing input to our legislators. But as I walked down those long corridors of the House of Representatives, I realized that it is, in fact, small voices that matter. We can’t leave the government to the loud, to the privileged, to the moneyed.
Our government works best when we participate, even if it feels like my one small voice doesn’t matter. Even monuments look small when you stand back and look from a distance.
But being here, in our nation’s capitol, I can see the ways that each small piece fits into the next–building strong, textured, and layered structures that endure. In some ways I see that the elaborate and ornate architecture of this place is also a metaphor for the feat of social and political engineering that is our government. And like our buildings, if we don’t care for them, pay attention to where they are wearing or have been neglected, government processes break down too. It takes all of us–each a small part of the whole–to keep our elected officials true to their duties, to raise our small voices together so they can be heard over the fray of disillusionment and partisan politics and keep our country true to its beliefs and freedoms.
And like our capitol building, we have to expose the damage and build some scaffolds to reach out and make the improvements. I am reminded that my small voice matters. I can’t sit out the election because I find it unpleasant or because it seems that decisions have already been made (yep–Californians seem so inconsequential in the primary process during presidential elections) and that my one vote doesn’t matter.
So…try thinking small this week…or at least looking small. (I do realize that my small thinking turned into some big realizations!) And remember that small is relative. You might notice something tiny by using your macro lens…or something may simply seem small because it is dwarfed by distance or something even more monumental.
You can post your photo alone or along with some words: commentary, a story, a poem…maybe even a song! I love to study the photographs that others’ take and think about how I can use a technique, an angle, or their inspiration to try something new in my own photography. (I love a great mentor text…or mentor photo, in this case!) I share my photography and writing on social media. You can find me on Instagram and Twitter using @kd0602. If you share your photos and writing on social media too, please let me know so I can follow and see what you are doing. To help our Weekly Photo community find each other, use the hashtag #small for this week and include @nwpianthology in your post.
Take a look around and notice the small. Share your small, however large, in a photo or two…maybe your small will result in some big new understandings!