Mountain ranges demand our focus.

Canyons tug at our gaze.

Massive sunsets crowd our view.

Fields of flowers catch our eye.

 

But what about the mountains of lichens on a twig?

The canyon grooves set in bark?

The gradient of color in a leaf?

The fields of pollen drenching a lily?

 

9 Mile Prairie vegetation (Carlee Koehler)

Nearly every time I step outdoors, something fills me with awe. Often times, it’s the big picture- what is most prominent on the landscape. Zooming in, however, can prove an even more humbling experience.

9 Mile Prairie vegetation (Carlee Koehler)

Recently, I visited the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s 9 Mile Prairie property with Michael Forsberg, Mike Farrell, and fellow classmates. I eagerly snagged this time away from concrete buildings and exhaust-saturated slush to get up close and personal with the surrounding organisms.

The prairie had covered itself in a mellow gray and brown shroud.  

9 Mile Prairie vegetation (Carlee Koehler)

I spent much of my time at the prairie trying to grasp as many ingredients of the location as possible. Tiny details constantly get lost simply because I don’t take the time to stop and just look. I feel like many of us really do believe we’re just in too much of a hurry to call a time-out or “stop to smell the roses.” Pausing to closely observe surroundings puts the complex web of relations between organisms and our suddenly not-so-urgent problems into perspective.

9 Mile Prairie vegetation (Carlee Koehler)

I find it simply incredible. When standing on a mountain top, I can see massive ranges stretching into the distance. Down at my feet, a delicate tundra flower possesses vivid color and minuscule patterns. It’s big, it’s small, it’s up, it’s down, it’s everywhere; gorgeous detail covering every inch of the natural world.

9 Mile Prairie vegetation (Carlee Koehler)

Pausing for these intimate moments to observe what’s around me serves as a reminder that although the world sometimes makes me feel small, I am bigger, more intricate, and more significant that I sometimes allow myself to believe.

9 Mile Prairie vegetation (Carlee Koehler)

We are all significant, beautiful details of the world’s big picture. Sometimes these details go unnoticed, but if they would disappear, the earth would simply be left missing a little something… a little grayer, a tad more mundane, a twinge more ordinary.

I wish more of us would to take the time to appreciate these intricate details of otherwise invisible beauty lost in the hustle and bustle of life. Thoughts change when one fully accepts the wealth of natural beauty all around us.

9 Mile Prairie vegetation (Carlee Koehler)
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