In the early 19th century, Romantic poet William Blake wrote a line which encompassed infinity: ‘to see a World in a Grain of Sand’. In these atoms of ink sat bubbling the promise of everything - from an expansive universe to the most petite of plants. One singular ‘Grain of Sand’ can be a way of opening up to a whole ‘World.’ In this blog I’ll be looking at why it is important to appreciate the tiny, the small, the daintiest of things.
Since globalisation, industrialisation and all the other big ‘-isation’ words were coined, individuals started to look differently at the bigger concepts in life. That isn’t to say, of course, that those gaping abstract questions of God, love, life and death weren’t thought of before the eruption of the modern world. Only, with the emergence of more widespread communications allowing us access to different parts of the globe, the way in which we think and act has become so interwoven with each other. All of a sudden, the world started to crack open and became exposed to different cultures and ways of living. I am all for acknowledging these networks of relationality, where our lifestyles are linked transnationally, but this can easily detract from a vision of the present and local.
We are able to fulfil our most basic desires at the click of a button or a tap of the screen. Take food, for example. You come home after a long day at work, or a night out, and start getting cravings for something really specific. It might be that all you need is a fix of garlic bread. Your friend, on the other hand, is wanting a chicken korma more than anything else in the world. So you open your phone and order just that. It barely has time to cool down as it arrives at your doorstep and is devoured in seconds. All these flavours from all across the world simmered down into one small box from a shop just down the road. This feels so different to making an actual meal yourself, getting the ingredients, preparing them, cooking. All these little things are lost because everything is fast and at our fingertips. We come to acquire what we desire so easily that appreciating slowness and smallness can become both inconvenient and a little frustrating.
I think there’s a valid reason why remedies for anxiety often include meditation or going for a ‘silly little mental health walk’. It encourages a moment to focus on what is right there in front of you. To zoom in instead of out. Everything becomes reduced to one singular moment, like a laser beam of focus. Our whole life is made from these smaller things. From the company we spend time with and the clothes we choose to wear to what we eat. Science has proved how a morning routine, such as minimising screen time or starting the day with some stretches, enhances your whole day. Although these little things don’t seem to amount to anything substantial at all, paying attention to the details that fill us with joy, and even the ones that don’t, really do play a large role in our daily lives. So look closely at that grain of sand, and what it could mean, hold it softly in the palm of your hand.
Book of the Month
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
I read this one a while ago, and it has been one of my favourites since. The title really does say it all, how we should look at the small (the beautiful, and the not so pretty) aspects that make up our individual realities. This novel seems, in a sense, purely poetic. Roy takes the reader on a choppy journey through history and love by exploring the most painful and heart-warming personal stories.
Anisha Minocha is studying English and Spanish at the University of St Andrews. She is a passionate writer and poet whose work has been published in anthologies, magazines, blogs and won competitions. Contributing to Sink Magazine, she is keen to utilise the voice of young people and share work through her creative writing blog. As a climate activist, she has combined her love for words and the planet in a performance of spoken word at the Royal Exchange Theatre in 'Letters to the Earth'. She also co-runs Young Friends of the Earth: Manchester and has organised workshops, participated in panels and spoken at Manchester Cathedral.
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