New Year’s Day morning was bright and sunny, but the weather had turned distinctly grey and cloudy by the time I took my camera and went for a walk in the New Forest. It did not seem promising. But as I looked around, the first things I noticed were some gorse blooms, ‘a kiss from someone dear’ as Cicely Mary Baker wrote in her Flower Fairy Alphabet.
Further on, my eye was caught by the rusty red of dead reeds, the reflection of a silver birch in a pool, and the patterns of crusty bark and twisted branches on some pine trees. There was colour and texture for those with eyes to see.
And there was more: a lone yew – green amidst the bare branches of other trees; a pool with bright green pond weed and orange bracken; orange-yellow toadstools; and a brown and white pony in its dense winter coat.
Lastly, I was fascinated by the silvery-grey network of some lichen against a background of green sphagnum moss.
By this time it had started to rain. I tucked my camera inside my jacket and headed back to the car park, meditating on what I had seen. I remembered the words of Julian of Norwich, ‘Our Lord showed me a small thing, the size of a hazelnut. In this little thing I saw three properties. Firstly God made it, secondly God loves it, and thirdly God sustains it’.
Zechariah asks, ‘Who despises the day of small things?’ I thought of Jesus telling us not to worry because Father God clothes the grass with splendour, but we His children are far more valuable to Him than the rest of His creation. We are so valuable that He sent His Son to die for us – each one of us. Father God delights in His creation, and He wants us to delight in it too.
Seeing God in the small things reminded me of Blake’s words in Auguries of Innocence:
‘To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.’
My walk had brought joy to my spirit, inspiration to my mind and health to my body. As I approached my car, I realised that the walk had lasted just one hour.