A Sense of Wonder

Journal Entry

“I have been looking forward to this week of vacation. It is an opportunity to really look, to become immersed and involved in the smallest detail of nature. To allow my sense of wonder and curiosity full rein, to listen to the poetry of the breezes and meld my spirit into one in perfect harmony with God’s Law. To learn about myself, so that as water will always run downhill because it is its nature to do so, I can move as easily and joyously and as perfectly because it is my nature to do so.”

This was written in anticipation of a week at Silver Bay YMCA of the Adirondacks http://www.silverbay.org/while attending a series of nature workshops sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation. My girlfriend and I attended one every year in different parts of the United States to learn about the plants, wildlife, habitat and challenges of the local environments. Not only did we stay at Silver Bay YMCA, we also traveled to North Carolina, http://www.blueridgeassembly.org/ and Colorado, http://www.ymcarockies.org/home/our-locations/EPC. There were hundreds of adults and children at these conferences, yet the staff working for both the conference centers and the National Wildlife Federation made us feel unique and special. These were some of best vacations I have ever enjoyed. They introduced me to my own sense of wonder. They instilled the desire to learn, to experience, to appreciate, to hold, to pray, to be amazed, and to recognize the small miracles that make up every day.

(Sometimes, you just have to go away to these places and let them take care of the humdrum stuff so you can shuck off the daily duties of cooking, cleaning and earning a living. These conference centers are stunning in their natural beauty, offer delicious cuisine {you don’t even have to do the dishes!} and all the space you need to restore your own sense of wonder, either in the natural world, or in your relationships, or both…).

The concept of a “sense of wonder” has been around for a while but I have noticed it usually refers to children’s education. That is important, but then I think: What about an adult’s sense of wonder? Does it evaporates after you reach voting age? Don’t old, wrinkled faces delight in seeing the reflection of a buttercup under a loved one’s chin? (If you see gold, it means they like butter….). If you are over 50 years old, would you not want to know that heady amazement at the sight of a soaring Bald Eagle?

I am all for the hands-on education of children but want to raise a hand of my own to point out that plenty of mature adults are willing to get down on their hands and knees to sniff out a miniature nature trail. Just because some of us might be a tad jaded in the world of grownups does not mean we are dead to the spice of wonder, or refuse the nectar of the gods when it is offered. An adult’s sense of wonder is more grounded in the reality that the moment must be savored, cherished, left unpicked so it can thrive and grow. An adult’s sense of wonder can open doors of possibility because they have the life experience to save parks, lobby for conservation, incorporate green habits into their daily lives. A sense of wonder is a stepping stone, an important tool for learning that we have as human beings, regardless of how many years we have walked this planet.

In fact, it would be pretty neat to develop a Sense of Wonder for Mature Adults program, and sign up men and women to do the cool things the kids have so much fun doing: unravel an owl pellet, follow the wing pattern of a sphinx moth, call out the names of the star constellations on a summer night.

Just for the wonder of it.

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This entry was posted in Blue Ridge Assembly, Colorado, North Carolina, owl pellet, planet, sense of wonder, Silver Bay YMCA of the Adirondacks, sphinx moth, YMCA of the Rockies. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to A Sense of Wonder

  1. Sparverius says:

    You’ve given me quite a little bit to think about here. This may just end up as one of the programs on my calendar of events for this coming year. Hummmm

  2. Anonymous says:

    ‘An adult’s sense of wonder is more grounded in the reality that the moment must be savored, cherished, left unpicked so it can thrive and grow.’ I loved this phrase, and the paragraph that contained it…hell, I loved the whole thing. I agree with you that it’s important to maintain that sense of wonder. Beautiful and thought-provoking as always, Di!Kim

  3. Anonymous says:

    I rediscovered my “sense of wonder” after surviving a serious medical crisis. I spent a month in the hospital, with all the sterility that entails, and was overwhelmed by my reaction to nature after I was recovered. Every bud, every sunset, every sound of a woodpecker was like hearing and seeing it for the first time. I never want to lose that and I don’t miss an opportunity to point it out to everyone I spend time with outdoors. Lois

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