I recently read about a scientist, a bryologist to be exact, who studied mosses. While she chose to observe the details of these of these plants that inhabit almost every ecosystem on earth, she may not have noticed the scent of a nearby lilac, the migrating Canada geese overhead, or even the pebble that had lodged itself in her shoe. She chose instead to notice the specific characteristics of this one type of the 22,000 species of mosses that inhabit our planet. This world of moss is where she chose to be alive. (See Gathering Moss for more information about the book.)
So where do I choose to be alive? Mostly in my office looking out onto the wooded slice of nature outside my window. Listening to the symphony of bird songs. Watching turtle heads disappear into the brown lake by my home. Feeling my cat purr on my lap while I sip my morning coffee. Browsing the thesaurus to find just the right word to express a thought. Measuring olive oil and red wine vinegar to whisk up a bowl of salad dressing. I choose this place to be alive. And I notice the details of this world.
A poem, like a mossy patch
On a moist log
Rotting in the rainforest
Is a little universe onto itself
Teaming with life easily unnoticed
Yet emitting its energy
Into the larger world in which it is intertwined.