It’s the Little Things

For in the dew of little things, the heart finds its morning and is refreshed. K. Gibran

On the Bluebird Trail at Laguna de Santa Rosa. We also have bluebirds nesting in our attic, which doubles as our storage space. Everything is getting covered with bird shit, but I don’t really mind.

Yesterday I went hiking on Mt. Tam with a group of friends, and after an initial attempt to keep up with their quick pace, I stopped to swoon over a calypso orchid and lagged behind for the remainder of the walk.

I mean, how can I not?

Also known as Redwood Orchid or Fairy Slipper, Calypso Orchids will only grow where the soil mycorrhizae has been undisturbed. Tread carefully.

On the trail, each step holds a potential for discovery. I like to move slowly, letting my senses integrate, whispering an ongoing prayer to the little things Show Thyself.

Chocolate Lily, also known as Mission Bells or Checker Lily. I didn’t notice this time, but they have a foul odor, and are sometimes called Stink Bells. The smell attracts flies, which they rely on for pollination. The root, which looks like little white balls, is edible. I wouldn’t harvest unless they are plentiful and you feel confident of being able to replant some of the “balls”.

After 18 years in the city, I have a sharp focus for hidden magic. It was a requirement to find those secret patches of nettle in the empty lot, the tri-cornered leek in the tree wells.

Here in our new life, I find myself changing lenses, something like a wide angle with a filter adjusted to let in more astounding beauty.

The only caption I can think of for this photo is “Eh! Put ’em up! Put ’em up!”

Hound’s Tongue

I’m not sure why I’m a little bit surprised to find that my proclamations of I need nature! were actually really true. That I wasn’t projecting or fidgeting with being in the now (the now of concrete, cars and buildings). The grass, as it turns out, really IS greener.

Years of living in ambivalence about my location had eroded my self trust in the still, small voice. For someone who is highly intuitive, turns out that’s not such a good thing. Now, after only 3 weeks, I’m looking back on those 18 years as this time of bizarre amnesia. Like, how did I end up doing that?

A friend outside the front door. Also, this is how you turn around if you’re a snail.

Misty mornings around the ranch are a sermon to the little things.


I know how I ended up doing that, of course. I can tell you the whole story, and all the steps and decisions along the way.

What I also can tell you is that I was never fully transformed by the city. I never became a city person, or considered living there the rest of my life. I certainly feared that I would, especially during the last few heinous years of house hunting. But just like Dorothy when she went to OZ, despite the adventure, beauty and extraordinary beings I met, All the same, I just kept telling everybody “I want to go home”.

I will always love San Francisco, my own Emerald City. It resides in my heart in its own special, tender place.

But I didn’t leave my heart there.



Like a good Buddhist, I have worked diligently on my ability to source joy irregardless of circumstance.


But I gotta tell ya’, it sure is nice when happiness becomes effortless. When all the little things add up to the ground under your feet.


What little things are lighting up your world lately?


6 thoughts on “It’s the Little Things

  1. Last time I went hiking (which was way to long ago, early february), the usnea spoke to me. I collected and my husband, Ben, who is a fast hiker, caught the bug. He slowed down and watched the fallen trail, and it talked to us. Your blog is the first place I thought about the plant’s space. Thank you for that, and thank you for writing in a way that gave me the balls to talk to the plants in my space. I send love to you and your family and your great, honest journey. You give me courage to de-lurk and participate in the bi-coastal conversation of the space we find. Thank you.

  2. I can see how you are now looking back and thinking how did it happen, how did I end up doing that? What is important, is that you aren’t doing it now. New Starts, start afresh, renew, revitalise, start again. I used to read your yearnings of needing to go home….and as I tried to put myself in your shoes (silver dancing shoes) – imagining not living here….there being no trees, and so many buildings, and too many people….I would have a little mirror panic, a small flutter to warn me against moving to the city any time soon. I feel as if I say “how delightful” at each of those flower photos. xo

  3. bluebirds of happiness,
    calypso orchid of wonder,
    mysterious reptilian face,
    adorable adobe.

    it’s heartening to hear that you were right all along.
    it wasn’t an ego thing, or a restless thing,
    or an inability to be present and grateful and soak up the juicy wildness even in the city.
    you are home now. and the nagging has stopped. you are home now, and life is beginning again.

    i consider all of my self-induced suffering in suburbia, waiting for my farm and my mud boots and my chillens to be running outdoors all day, on soil, not concrete. to GTFO of overfilled garbage cans and the bored manicured nails tapping on phones while children hang listlessly from monkey bars after parkour class.

    and that naggy little voice says, “nah, you’ll still be smoldering and angsty…if you can’t be happy here why would moving change? life is happening now, shit head!” well. okay.

    but i don’t really think i’ll miss aimlessly wandering the whole foods like the naggy voice says i will.

    you were right all along.


  4. Bluebirds are for me a friendly symbol of homecoming, as they are seen nesting again in the Quebec province (where they were mostly absent for the past three decades) thanks to the birdhouses people built in their gardens.


    Also, your cheerful, warm-hearted, whimsical barn-house seems to wink at us on this picture, like a perfect illustration of what you just said.

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