Celebrating Small Things in a Great Way
“If you can’t do great things, do small things in a great way. Don’t wait for great opportunities. Seize common, everyday ones.” Self-help author Napolean Hill
My daughter calls me from our northern Wisconsin cabin. “I can’t believe it,” she says, all excited. “Right now, swimming near shore, there are six adult geese, eleven goslings, three mallards, a hen wood duck with four babies, and the goose with the slight limp we think is Gertie. Without you, we wouldn’t be seeing any of this.”
Without me? I suddenly realize that my raising and releasing ducks and a goose at our cabin will be part of my legacy. When my children and grandchildren see geese or ducks, they’ll often think of me. A small thing, like the Fourth of July sparklers children will light this week. Not a big, showy sky rocket, but still . . .
As I weed my small garden, I take time to enjoy my blooming white hollyhocks. I fondly remember my stepfather who, many years ago, gave me the tiny seeds. In the fall I’ll collect this year’s seeds, save them, and in the spring I’ll sow and water them so they grow. I wish he knew that these seeds add spark to my day, a reminder of how much he meant to me.
My dog and I head to the store. I’m about to drive into a parking spot near the entrance when a woman signals me to stop. She has noticed something on the blacktop. Money? I wonder. No. Several tiny tree frogs are hopping about. Smaller than marbles, she tries to catch them and take them to safety. I back up, giving her room. The woman’s simple humanitarian gesture isn’t a showy full-out firework display, but the brightness of it stays with me.
I return home and take my dog for a hike through the school forest’s prairie, a favorite spot. I remember when two coworkers sowed the seeds in this meadow. Do they realize I think of them now while watching butterflies flitting through a vast field of colorful meadow flowers? Their gesture is like the chrysanthemum firework, colored stars that leave a visible trail of sparks.
While hiking back, I spot a candy wrapper and pull out my litter bag. Ever since I saw Debbie Kinder carrying a garbage bag on her hike, I’ve done the same. The efforts of people like Debbie and organizations such as the Stewards of the Dells and the Tree City committee working to preserve the natural beauty of the Dells are igniters, setting off sparks that others gladly join.
I drive past the Bowman House and remember bringing my fourth graders there for field trips. Jean Brew, in costume, and John Campbell volunteered their time to give us a tour. Do other Historical Society and service club members such as long-time Kiwanian Steve Stuelke realize the afterglow of their efforts? Do volunteers such as 4-H and scout leaders? Do you?
This Fourth of July, as the fancy spinners, bottle rockets, and showy fireworks light up the sky, I’m going to be celebrating those people who do small things in a great way. America needs small sparks like us too.