Tonight, I was walking my dog along a pathway that a lot of people in my neighborhood use. She happened on the scent of another dog that had recently passed. She loves other dogs, so she stopped to sniff along the path and the grass, as if she wanted to track down the other dog and meet it.
She sniffed avidly for several seconds, making her way slowly along the path as she tried to get every last detail of that scent trail. Meanwhile, I turned my gaze farther along the path and saw... the actual DOG that had left the scent trail, walking along with two ladies and a small child.
"Mini! Let's go! I see the other doggie!" I tried to get her attention and urge her to start walking again. But she was reluctant to leave that fresh scent trail. She just KNEW that dog had to be close by. She did, unwillingly, come along with me, though we stopped several times along the way so she could sniff more of the other dog's scent.
Finally, we did actually meet up with the other doggie, and they got to greet each other. But we'd have caught up with him sooner if we hadn't stopped repeatedly to examine the scent he left on the ground.
The lesson here is, sometimes when we focus ONLY on the details, we miss something *really* important, something that's visible when we pay attention to the Big Picture. So while paying attention to individual details, don't forget to step back now and then to examine the whole situation. Sometimes the whole really is more than the sum of its parts.