A Thousand Of Anything

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.


credit: history.com

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.

a thousand

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? 

23 thoughts on “A Thousand Of Anything

  1. Quite like a coffee break post. Even though we notice several instances of such items, we ignore unless it’s made out of nature. The flowers extended to the horizon makes us smile where as the heavy traffic on the road makes us say ‘Ooops!’

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Recently I started noticing these tall pink flowers growing by the sides of the road pretty much everywhere around where I live. Then, because my partner and I just moved here recently, I discovered some in our backyard too. They’re called Naked Ladies.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I used to live in a small town where there were thousands of lady bugs at certain times of the year. When I say there were a lot, I mean that your entire front door would be covered in them, and you’d find them in just about every nook and cranny of your house even if you were very careful about keeping the doors and windows shut.

    Some folks thought they were an annoyance, but I liked seeing how tenacious they were.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. On the other side of the mountain I live on is a valley with a couple of small towns. In between these towns on a boring one lane road is an Elk preserve. Living where I do, we all see wildlife daily and shrug it off. But when all the Elk decide to cross the road at once, everyone gets out of their cars and watches in awe.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A thousand dead bodies stacked like firewood along a trench that will become their mass grave is a holocaust.

    A thousand mosquitoes is a camping nightmare.

    A thousand gallons of rain on my roof is a flood in my yard that makes me worry all night about the power going out and being stranded.

    A thousand waves breaking over the bow of my boat is a threat to my family’s life on a pleasure trip to Key West.

    I’m… maybe I didn’t get it. I effing took notice, all right.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Do the bad things negate the good?

      What if it was a thousand Monarch butterflies in your campsite? Or a thousand gallons of rain refilling a drought-stricken reservoir? Or the thousands who stood on the right side of history during the Holocaust?

      How about a thousand students, both young and grown, saying farewell to a retiring teacher after forty years? Or a thousand friends filling a church to say goodbye to a friend taken by cancer? Does the fact that all those bad things happened make these things less beautiful?

      Perhaps this is a matter of perspective. We could spend hours listing ways a thousand of something would be bad. But why? We get enough negativity every day. It’s better to go in search of the good.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. There is a book by Canadian author Ann Voskamp called “One Thousand Gifts” in which she encourages us to keep a diary of the 1000 things we’re thankful for. When you see how many things you have in your life to be thankful for it makes a pretty good case for seeing the beauty in things. Thanks for your post, it was a great one.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Cool post and I totally agree. In the writing world it relates too. An author of one book would not be noticed. But one of ten, or more, books, is something that’ll draw attention. Unless of course they suck. One word, had hardly any significance. But a thousand, they can convey a meaning that flows in all of us.

    Love your posts.

    Liked by 3 people

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