Decades ago, as a young adult, I travelled overseas for 6 months. Traversing the island of Java, I was knocked out by the expanse of rice terraces covering mountain after mountain, top to bottom. On and on it went, this amazing feat of engineering which was also breath-takingly beautiful. At first I couldn’t imagine how such a marvel could have been designed and constructed. At that time Indonesia was not a wealthy country. There weren’t huge tractors and other machines to carry out this work.
As these thoughts sped through my mind it dawned on me how many hands – millions of them, making millions of movements, created these wonders which feed millions and, at the same time, formed a beautiful landscape. Humans working with nature, each making small efforts over hundreds of years, fashioned these vast terraced terrains. Countless human efforts maintained the terraces and rice harvests.
What couldn’t one person do or achieve in a lifetime taking small steps persistently, consistently? What could I achieve in my life, my work, my relationships, my art making small efforts day by day? This is how to learn a language, build a house, garden, skyscrapers, massive ships, just about anything. I’m grateful I learned this lesson early in my life because it has helped me stay focussed on tasks and projects, on making every day count. It has jerked me out of procrastination, slackness, loss of resolve. The beauty of the images remain with me to this day and on revisiting Indonesia I am still in awe of the rice terraces that are produced by millions of hands making countless small efforts.
All over the world people are making countless small efforts to create a beautiful and bountiful realm. Be inspired, do it too.