Small Things

Small Things

On my drive to and from school, I keep reminding myself to soak it up and take it in. Instead of getting lost in thought or just robotically staring at the road ahead, I attempt to look up and look around. So often I find myself in the early part of winter wondering what happened to the fall days I cherish. The trees seem to be blazing scarlet and golden hues for such a brief period of time. While I think fall is often inconveniently truncated, I also forget to embrace the days we do have.

This year, I’m attempting to make my morning and evening commutes a time for noticing. Noticing the particular blush of the tree near my house, mostly green but with a warm glow on top. Noticing the checker of colors on the trees as I wait for the light to change. Noticing the warmth of the afternoon sun and the slight coolness in the morning air.

There seems to be a need to soak up these moments, to store them away in my heart for the months ahead where the trees will be barren and the air frigid. In those moments, there will be much to be grateful for, too, but I want to relish these days as the colorful glory that they are for me.

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The splendor of the leaves and their far-too-fast descent remind me of a beautiful poem by the German poet, Rainer Maria Rilke.  I’ll let him do the work this time, not complicating the simple beauty he presents with my added words.


The leaves are falling, falling as from far off, 
as though far gardens withered in the skies; 
they are falling with denying gestures. 

And in the nights the heavy earth is falling 
from all the stars down into loneliness. 

We are all falling. This hand falls. 
And look at others; it is in them all. 

And yet there is One who holds this falling 
endlessly gently in his hands.

Beholding Your Beauty


“The acute experience of great beauty readily evokes a nameless yearning for something more than earth can offer.  Elegant splendor reawakens our spirit’s aching need for the infinite, a hunger for more than matter can provide.”                                                          -Fr. Thomas Dubay

An acute experience of great beauty.  Sometimes beauty pierces the heart and the soul.  It catches your breath.  It very nearly makes you weep.  It is a heart-rending experience of something that makes you long for far more, yet causes tremendous gratitude that you were able to experience that small glimpse.

Photo cred for this one goes to my little sister

It can be something seemingly insignificant.  The most recent things that have caused my heart to swoon have been trees.  Last Friday, I was driving to Mass and passed a tree bellowing the glory of God.  It was the perfect shade of golden-red and I felt tears come to my eyes as I gazed at it.  It was a moment of intimate union in my car as I moved passed the tree.  It happened again last night at my parents’ house.  The tree was filled with beauty and sunshine and the brilliant contrast of golden leaves with scarlet was arresting.  Even with my arms laden with papers, I still took a few minutes to gawk at the loveliness of creation.

Yesterday, the priest at Mass focused on beauty and how it can pull us in to something beyond what we can see.  I was in love with his descriptions of different moments of beauty.  Part of me wondered if this is a common experience, the transformative power of beauty that causes one to stop and stare with unabashed brazen wonder.

It happened to me in Switzerland, a land I became firmly convinced that could never be home to atheists.  I wondered how they could look at their mountains and lakes and not see God.  Yet we can all be in beautiful situations and places and simply pass them by, not concerned with the truly monumental aspects.

Take a few moments to soak in the beauty of fall, the beauty of this world.  Gaze at a lovely painting, listen to a classical work, drive through the autumnal countryside–draw up into your soul all of the beauty that surrounds you and let yourself be drawn up into it as well.