I was watching American Pickers last night (the episode was called No Stoner Left Unturned. Ha.), and the guy Mike and Frank picked was an aging hippie guy in California. He was a real character, this guy. A free spirit.
He was also an artist. In one of his bigger projects, he turned a Kawasaki motorcycle into a Cowasaki motorcycle. His smaller projects were mosaics. He’d take thousands of stones and put them on…anything. Manikins. Masks. Tables. You name it. His work was featured in National Geographic at one point.
As the artist was showing the guys around his place and discussing his art (specifically the mosaics), he said something that struck me and I had to make a note of it in my phone. This morning, I made a graphic out of it.
Of course not a thousand of literally anything is beautiful – dirty diapers, destroyed homes, and flu cases come to mind – but I love the sentiment behind this sentence.
One flower is pretty. A whole field is breathtaking.
One starfish is overlooked. A thousand tells a story about making a difference.
One bird is hardly noticed. A swarm becomes a dance.
One golden aspen blends among the green. A thousand becomes a tourist attraction.
One windmill barely stands out in the landscape. Thousands reach the horizon and give you a reason to slow your drive through north Texas.
One person standing up to injustice is a blip on the public radar. A thousand becomes a movement.
We talk a lot about quality > quantity, and I think that’s true in many cases. But sometimes, sheer number makes us take notice. We delight in the bounty around us.
Labor Day weekend is nearly upon us, and a yearly tradition is to see the balloon festival in my city. There aren’t a thousand balloons – I think there are 80-100. But still, it’s enough to draw thousands of people at dawn to see the display.
For a few minutes, while everyone watches the ascent, nothing else matters. No one cares who’s on what side of the political aisle. People forget that thing on Facebook that made them angry or that Uncle Buster is being a jerk. We’re all caught up in the spectacle. One balloon is worth pointing out to your kids. Dozens bring together a community.
What’s something you’ve seen in great quantity that made you take notice?