This week I had a few reminders that very often, less is more. The first reminder came in the form of the above photo. It is the image of one of my favorite places, Lake Alpine. I have only experienced that lake during the summer when it is green and lush. The lake has a lot of water in it, there are beautiful low bushes and shrubs along with birds and trees. There is a lot to take in each time I visit. This time, however, everything was covered in snow. Familiar forms were reduced to unrecognizable mounds of white fluffy powder. The horizon line of the lake merged with the water's surface until I couldn't really tell where one ended and one began. The entire effect was one of simplicity and wholeness, reduced down from an environment that is normally complex and very detailed. Still beautiful but very different.
The next experience came in the shape of a realization. A small project that I have been working on came to fruition. During its making I struggled with many things: detail, purpose of the project, what types of things would be appealing to the widest audience and in general, my own varying levels of self esteem. At one point I realized that less would be more. It took some back and forth emails with the person who was helping me to be able to realize what I was doing wrong. My approach was too complex and his input helped to reign in my focus. The project has been completed and I feel it is a good effort.
Lastly, I observed someone composing a small and informal photo shoot of my work. I watched him arrange and rearrange the various objects. He kept things so simple, his experience telling him almost right away what was needed for the perfect arrangement. Oh, if only my own efforts were always so effortless!
I really did learn something from all three events: the simple beauty of a winter landscape has much in common with getting down to basics and the judicious use of mental editing. Each thing I experienced showed me that very often, less is more. And I relate that to how I want to experience God's hand in the world. I want to take notice of what seems to be ordinary or insignificant or just plain. I want to take in the simplicity of something and be appreciative of God's humble effort to please us. I do think that is what those places and moments and lessons are all about: it's God's effort to make us happy with His creations. His message to take notice of what might otherwise be passed up for lack of flash and hype. Pay attention to the basics and you will be amply rewarded.