Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Little Foxes


About This Blog

Solomon once complained that "The little foxes are ruining the vines." That statement has always puzzled me in a way--do the big foxes leave them alone?--but the gist of it rings true. It's not earthquakes or volcanic eruptions or plagues of frogs that we generally have to worry about at harvest time. No, it's the little pests that we never notice the rest of the year, small beings whose lives have nothing to do with ours (but who appreciate our planting all of those grape vines for them), that destroy the careful labor of months.

Little things have a way of eating into our lives, whether for good or ill. Mosquitoes drive us in from the yard, paper cuts make us howl--and one ripe grape fresh from the vine can send us to straight to heaven. And, like those punch-drunk little foxes,
small things have a way of putting larger issues in perspective. The Song of Solomon is not, after all, primarily a book of agricultural advice.

This blog, Microcosm, explores the minutiae of everyday life and their occasional relationship to things in general. Literally, of course, a microcosm is just a "small world," and sometimes a small world is exactly that--a tiny, self-contained sphere of activity. But in its greater sense, the diminutive world of the microcosm represents something in the world at large, and it is that sense of nesting worlds, nesting meanings, that I'm interested in exploring.

I'm prompted to write by my own small world, especially by two aspects of it. The first is the small, courtyard garden in my townhome. In it I'm attempting--however haphazardly--to create a miniature ecosystem that will harbor a healthy complement of plant and animal life, feeding us all in the process. The chain reactions set in motion by one small change--the addition of a small water dish at ground level, or the placement of an "ornamental" rock to provide shade and shelter--have astonishingly (disturbingly?) far-reaching results. And if anything was tailor-made for someone hunting for symbolic meaning, a garden would have to be it.

The second factor prompting this blog is the presence in my life of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). This illness has reduced the external part of my life to a fraction of its former size and focused my attention more intensely on those things right in front of my nose. While I would vastly prefer to be well, I do appreciate the gift of focus that illness has taught me--the deep enjoyment of small pleasures.

So I am writing to share some of that enjoyment, especially as it pertains to that greatest of all pleasures, gardening, together with any musings and speculations that might come along for the ride. I am also writing to explore the beauty that can reside in smallness--the ways in which small lives, small worlds, can yet have great meaning. Welcome to my microcosm. I hope that you, too, will find enjoyment, interest, and meaning in the small pleasures unfolded here.


  1. I enjoyed reading your beautiful appreciation of the smaller things around us. I'm sorry that you're having to deal with the CFS--I've known a few people over the years who've had to adjust to its life-limiting demands. But I'm thrilled that you're finding joys in gardening on a small scale. Our culture almost demands that all of us live larger than we really should. We can all learn from you!

  2. James, I'm so glad you enjoy Microcosm! Our culture does seem to value more-and-bigger, doesn't it... Being "forced" to simplify hasn't been a bad thing--you certainly learn to milk enjoyments for all they're worth.

    Thank you for your kind words re: CFS. I'm really one of the lucky ones--limited, but still more or less functional. And deeply grateful for the internet, which helps keep the world of the imagination large, at any rate...

    Thanks for your visit and for commenting!

  3. Stacy, I have added your unique blog to my bloglist on my main blog. I do not want to miss any of your posts, as each is like a tiny jewel of a way of seeing, hearing and feeling . . . and how those thoughts and sounds are woven so exquisitely together by a highly cultivated craft of writing with poetic images. I hope you are working on a book, for I would love to have one! Your blog is a joyful gift to a weary world. I am so glad to have found it. Carol

  4. Carol, I'm so touched and pleased--thank you! It gives me such pleasure to be able to share the joy and beauty I find in the garden, especially with others like yourself who savor that beauty every day, too.