i've written about my obsession with moss before. i may not have mentioned my concurrent obsession with lichen.
our recent trip up north afforded me plenty of opportunities to commune with these tiny marvels. pictured above is caribou lichen -- pretty much the building block of the entire northwestern Ontario ecosystem. there are those - more learned than i - who would undoubtedly shake their heads at that over-simplified declaration, but that's none of my business. ;)
anyway - tiny but immensely powerful -- resurrection engines, doing the slow, steady work of sustaining life.
you can probably see where i'm going with this.
i received the link to a podcast some time last week and it got me pondering the whole big/small thing. the topic of the podcast was how often we (meaning women) tend to keep ourselves small (i assume it was business-slanted...i didn't actually listen to the podcast as i just wasn't interested in yet another call-to-bigness, no matter how it was communicated...which is not meant to be a judgement on those for whom such a message is helpful. which i don't doubt it is. ahem. end of disclaimer.).
i think i'm just weary of the notion that big=effective and small=super-but-not-quite-enough.
in my constant push-pull, love-hate relationship with The Internets, the love (and the pull) is the amazing collection of women (and a few men) i've had the great good fortune to *meet*. it's safe to say that without them, my life might look very different to what it does now. i've been inspired and challenged in equal measure; been supported and encouraged and, often, commiserated with.
something that all of these women have in common, however, is their smallness. or, more accurately, their not-bigness.
many of the women i know well, and admire, are doing amazing, incredible work in the world -- but not on a particularly grand scale. they're mothers, homemakers, householders, solopreneurs - quiet, unassuming people who often struggle with the call to Do Good Things while wanting to remain quiet, unassuming people.
if you've known me for any length of time, you know i can relate to that particular struggle. so i get a tiny bit tetchy when the overriding message is one of needing to Be Big in order to fulfill your utmost potential.
as if staying small, somehow lets both yourself, and the side, down.
the proponents of Big-ness would pooh-pooh that statement, insisting that it's okay to be small....all the while encouraging us to be just that tiny bit bigger.
but what they say? well, that's none of my business, either.
i maintain myself in a state of smallness because that's what i can manage. any and all attempts to push myself into a state of Bigness -- which is utterly contrary to my personality and temperament -- has backfired and set me back, horribly.
for a while, i considered this to be a failure; a sign that i just wasn't meant to be doing certain things, that i could never have the sort of life and lifestyle that i wanted.
slowly, though, over this long past while of voluntary exile and immersion in this patch of land i call home, i've realized that's pretty much bullshit.
i've suspected it was bullshit plenty of times before, but never could see my way to an alternative.
i can't say that i have an alternative strategy now, either -- beyond a firm conviction that there is one. and of course, it looks different for everyone.
what i do know of my alternate course, what i've come to understand of it, is deeply rooted (pun not intended but gratefully acknowledged) in the land. my allies are plants, and my traveling companions are of the furred and feathered variety.
it looks like writing, but slowly and with consideration and intent.
it looks like my unashamed preference for home and family.
it looks like staying small.
and knowing that to be absolutely okay.
because i know there's a whole, vast, web of women out there, doing small things with big hearts and i'm really quite delighted to number myself, and my own small contributions, among them.
ps. part of my being small, but doing it bigly, is recommitting to a publishing schedule, of sorts. not six books a year, like i'm supposed to do if i want to be Successful, but most likely just one. i'm also going to release the books i've already published, onto other platforms -- to make them more accessible to more people. i'm contemplating print versions. i have an outline ready for the new novel - The House in the Hedge - which i plan on writing over the winter months.