So many big things come from tiny things. A lot of plants, of course, come from minuscule seeds. Books come from tiny letters all strung together to create the miracle of story. And if we are to believe the current theory of how the universe came into being, that too started from something tiny — an iota of nothingness.
You might think this is one of those “isn’t life grand” posts, and I’d originally planned on it being so (a paean to the alphabet, actually, and the wonders that come from those 26 tiny letters,) but lately I’ve been odiferously reminded that it’s not only grand things that come from tiny things, but also not so grand things.
For the past couple of days, especially at night, I’ve been smelling decaying skunks (and yes, I know what they smell like because a skunk once died in an open crawl space beneath a house I rented, and no one could get under there far enough to get it out), and then I remembered — it’s August, the time when marijuana plants around here start budding. And oh, what a reek! As far as I know, there are only a couple of dozen plants in my neighborhood. Six plants per person are legal, so one couple has twelve plants, as does a second couple (or so I have heard.) A twenty-fifth plant made its way into a friend’s yard, and so far, he’s keeping it.
So, this is an example of a tiny thing about the size of a tomato seed growing into something immense — not just the plants themselves, which do get huge, but the horribly obnoxious smell that permeates the air for blocks around. Luckily the odor only lasts a few weeks, but until then, I have the pleasure of smelling rotten skunks.
When I was looking for an area to settle down, a real estate agent spent a day taking me on a tour of southwestern Colorado to see if any one place seemed better than another. She was particularly informative about places that I probably wouldn’t like, such as one town that’s downwind of a feedlot. Most of the time, according to her, there wasn’t a problem, but in spring, the odor becomes strong and acrid.
Other areas she warned me against were near farms that grew pot because of the odor. I was surprised at that because most agricultural products have no real smell, but I took her word for it. And oh, I’m so glad I did!
If only a few plants are enough to gag me, I can’t imagine what a whole field would do.
So, yes . . . many big things — both good and bad — come from tiny things.
Pat Bertram is the author of intriguing fiction and insightful works of grief.