The second age of wonder.
April 22, 2018 § 5 Comments
We live in a constant state of wonder.
The discovery we have hands, that water can splash, that sand yields to toes, that faces that vanish come back in response to the magic word “peekaboo,” that grasshoppers hop, all amaze us.
In our early years wonder has our full attention.
Time passes and the kid gets cool. Wonder, as available as ever, is often met with a shrug, a quick glance. Wonder requires us to stop. Stare. Forget everything else.
Frankly, we are too busy for wonder. We’ve seen it all before. Unless it comes with huge pyrotechnics we put any potential source of wonder on the slag heap of been-there-done-that.
As if it were an illness, we have built up an immunity to wonder.
But as we get old wonder comes slowly back. It catches our eye, briefly at first, but over time our attention turns inexorably toward it, until wonder pervades almost everything we do, see, hear, taste, feel, think. My husband says it is as if wonder invites us back in. Or maybe we are the ones who issue that invitation.
All I know is that sometimes wonder is so present I can almost fly on its wings.
Perhaps as our time grows shorter, our willingness to slow down and appreciate increases.
The why of it doesn’t matter.
What does, is that we are, once again, truly alive in the world, grateful observers of everything from light falling through leaves to the smallest insect. We are, once again willing and eager to be gob-smacked by the smallest gesture of this thing called life.
What we understood when we were new to life but forgot comes back to us. A benediction.
Note: This benediction settled over me as Ray and I watched a tiny jumping spider on our parquet floor. It was no bigger than the eraser on a pencil and close in color to the wood floor, easy to miss and insignificant to most creatures as large and important as ourselves.
But having reached the second age of wonder we got out a flashlight and the magnifying hood for a closer look. It’s front two legs looked like boxing gloves, heavy, and held out in front of the spider. In its small world this spider was somebody.
In ours too.