This I Believe

Kelsey - Corona, California
Entered on September 19, 2007

I believe in details. The little stuff. The insignificant important things that build up to something greater.

Think about it. How many people really stop to smell the roses, and also appreciate the spiraling symmetry of every individual petal? Or how those petals feel softer against a person’s lips than they do when grazed by a finger? How many people notice the almost invisible layer of green in the summer sunset? Or how adding basil to a homemade spaghetti sauce can create a minty taste that compliments the oregano almost flawlessly?

But don’t get me wrong. I think it’s great to see the big picture, realize where you stand in the world, and take it all in, but at the same time someone needs to appreciate the tiny brushstrokes, the layers of paint that all add up to the grandness of the whole, and the shimmering intricacies of the gilded frame.

The details of life have always fascinated me, even as a small child. One day as I was rummaging through a box of old photographs, I found a series of pictures my mother had taken when I had barely turned two. She captured the moments that I sat in the front hallway on the cheap linoleum flooring of our tiny house, playing with a glass of water I had found. I had been splashing it around on the floor, and laughing at the afternoon light that it scattered before me.

Even now, years later, I look at these pictures and love the details. The way the camera captured the beam of golden light streaming in through the window, how it caught in my curly-blond two-year-old hair and lit it up like a halo of childhood innocence and curiosity. These wonderful details have governed my life, and reshaped the way I look at the world around me, adding character and the unseen. Some call me a nit picker, since I also make a point to notice the flaws in things, but that isn’t what I’m trying to do. To err is human, and so a crack in a cell phone, or a chip on a plate, or even a picture hanging crooked on the wall denotes human nature, and our imperfect perfection. These details celebrate who we are and the journey we are making.

Most would look at the floor of my dorm right now and see, in general, a mess. But not me. I see the burnt popcorn strewn all over our sitting room, and I see the laughter we shared as we picked it out of the edible popcorn, and good-naturedly argued about who had to vacuum it up. I see the stains on our table cloth and see the meals we spent together passing our concoctions around as one of our first experiences of independence and freedom.

So I believe in the little things; the secret smiles, the dents in the car, the dust on the shelf, the things that make us human. I believe in shopping lists, and margin doodles, and melting marshmallows in hot cocoa. I believe in the background music, and whispered “I love you”-s. In taps on the shoulder, and the bottom card that’s holding the house up. The blinking cursor at the end of the line and notes left on the fridge.

And yes, I believe in brush strokes.