Foreground/Background

I’ve just returned from a family trip to Glacier National Park. That experience provided thousands of insights that could serve as blog post fodder. One of which is a key relationship between macro & micro.

At the beginning of the week, I was awestruck by the sheer mass of the mountains and how they filled my field of view. This was an experience created by the simple act of driving through them on Highway 2.

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(macro: the big picture)

Then, as the week progressed we started a series of day hikes. I was silenced by how humble one feels when standing in a valley floor with demonstrative stone giants perched and sleeping as they have been for centuries. They blocked our view of the horizon and played havoc with the sunlight.

Toward the end of the week our increasing comfort level enabled us to be more bold and take steeper, less traveled trails. This elevated my awareness of potential dangers, such as bears and cats, but also I found myself contemplating smaller details. Taking pictures of all the wildflowers and trying to capture the true color of the water.

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(micro: beargrass)

There was this macro to micro transition that ultimately rounded out the experience.

For decades I have been studying these specific mountain peaks, lakes and lodges. Looking back now, I noticed that in most of the books I have on the topic, the flow of information mimics my experience there. On the cover there is a celestial sunrise photo of Wild Goose Island perched in St. Mary’s lake… and towards the rear of the book are photos of first the wildlife, then the flora and fauna.

There is a irresistible correlation to be contemplated between a week in Glacier and other aspects of our lives.

For instance, how generally appealing the concept of home ownership is from afar. But after a “few days in the park” we grow past that and start to become aware of more micro elements. The warmth of a well placed light, the smell of seasonal baking, the different sounds of different struts on a wooden floor. In this case, the threat of bears might be an ice dam on the roof that destroys a living room ceiling. It’s not all scenic vista’s and flowers.

There seems to be a cyclical interdependence that co exists between the macro and the micro. Until we become aware of both, and recognize the role each plays, I propose the experience of living cannot be truly appreciated. A locker system at the back door or new pull hardware in the kitchen. An addition to the north side of the house or a new lampshade. A new cement driveway or a re-arranged living room.

It’s true with people too… yes your daughter looks like you, but when she tries to conceal a smile as you complement her on the bracelet she made, you see the spark of life in her eyes.

Every letter in the alphabet has a purpose… it’s from all of those, the words or our life are written.

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