one square yard

square yard

I think I must have been in the seventh grade when we did the “one square yard” lesson.

It got us outside, so I remember liking it.

Anything that got us out from behind our desks with the attached table was alright in my book.

We went outside and set up a section of ground that was a yard wide on each side.

Each of us had his own section of earth that he or she was “Master and Commander” over.  For the week, we were assigned that piece of real estate.

The point of the exercise was to notice and record everything that we saw in that square yard.

We recorded all the plant and animal life we saw over the course of the week…every blade of grass or bug, the different kinds of rocks…everything we could see in that small section of ground.

We didn’t have to understand it all….we just had to practice noticing.

I think that the real lesson in the exercise was that there was a lot of stuff in a small section of ground.

There was a lot of life that we never noticed until someone made us pay attention.

( Someone is probably thinking, “Now that’s what I’m talking about!  That’s the problem with PUBLIC EDUCATION!!!  If it were up to me, I’d take all those kids and homeschool ’em, get them out from under the thumb of a corrupt government…save the taxpayers some money and hook those kids up with a real education.  Staring at the ground!!!  What a waste!!!!!  If it were up to me….”)

It was one of the things in school that we did that really stuck with me.

It was a good lesson.

I wrote a post yesterday about picking the wrong detail to be distracted by.

The post was about a “bad day” delivering the mail…and how, until I got my head screwed on a little straighter, I was letting it get me worked up.  I was hung up on the wrong detail…and it was bringing me to an unhealthy mindset.

My conclusion was that I needed to try and start remembering the big picture…that there was always something bigger than my temporary circumstance that I could be thankful for.

This morning, I’m thinking about that “one square yard” lesson.

There was so much life in that little piece of ground.  There was so much life that we could see by just really looking at it.

We didn’t use a microscope…but I’m sure that the ground was teaming with things that we couldn’t see, too.

I miss a lot.  I’m distracted.  I’m confused, befuddled…or, on the other hand, such a little egomaniac that I think I know more than I probably do. There’s a lot of reasons that I miss things.

Thinking you understand something will stop you from looking for what’s really going on.  That’s as dangerous as not looking at all.

One square yard of ground held so much that we almost couldn’t catalog it all…the world on the head of a pin.  There was a lot to be seen if you looked hard enough.

If there was that much going on in something we’d usually pass by without thinking about it, imagine how much possibility there is in the world that we never notice.

Getting fixated on a single detail can be really damaging.

Supposing that we understand everything because we’ve cataloged our own little “square yard” of our lives can be just as damaging.

Knowing that there’s more to life than what we think we see is ….priceless.


About Peter Rorvig

I'm a non-practicing artist, a mailman, a husband, a father...not listed in order of importance. I believe that things can always get better....and that things are usually better than we think.


one square yard — 2 Comments

  1. Hi Peter, I stumbled upon this piece and am grateful that I did. The simplicity of this put a smile on my face while also providing a humble perspective on life, and for some reason, I sense that this will stay with me for a long time. So, thank you.