If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantments of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things that are artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength.
– Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder
Indestructible sense of wonder.
Today my children decorated my Book of Hours. I told them that they could use anything they liked – even my fancy tapes that I save for special pages. They covered the page with their drawings (ants, a rainbow, and a sun) and their favourite washi tapes.
Today it was all about them.
I have spent the last few weeks fully absorbed in tidying our home and pursuing some creative endeavours (which I hope to reveal soon). I told them that they had me – all of me – today.
Today I wasn’t going to be typing away at my computer while they waited for me to finish so we could begin our day. I wasn’t going to immerse myself in my art or in communicating with my collaborators.
As I watched them decorate my page, I noticed how they chose each component deliberately. They explained why they loved a particular sticker or what the ant was up to across the top of my page.
I paid attention to them in the most simplest ways. I looked them in the eye when they spoke to me. I took time to hug each one randomly. I stopped whatever I was doing to listen to their wild ideas and stories. I watched them from afar, noting their body language and how they interacted with others. I answered every question immediately. I said yes more often than no. I played dinosaurs and surfed on mattresses. I said I was sorry for being so busy lately and a little absorbed in other things. We slowed down and wondered about little and big things. We lay down and dreamt about our home and going on adventures together. We went to library and borrowed books on California, dragons, and of course, ants.
We headed to the beach early before our friends arrived and just hung out. I didn’t have an agenda. I was open to whatever they wanted to do. My older ones just wanted to lie down and read beside me, stopping at times to fill me in or ask a question. My younger ones dragged me into the water and dared me to dunk in the chilly lake.
I listened and paid attention.
I love seeing the world through my children’s eyes. I love hearing their observations about themselves and the world around them. (“Sometimes when food tastes so good it makes me dance.”) My son wonders if he will ever see a platypus in his lifetime while one of my daughters wonders if she could write a story based on our family. We wonder what my eldest is doing right now. We make guesses and make up stories but we always leave room for the unimagined possibilities.
Whenever we drive down to the beach, I ask them the same question before we get there:
What colour do you think the water is today?
We wonder if it’s a deep dark blue or a blue that matches the sky. We wonder if the lake looks like a bed sheet gently wrinkled after a good night’s sleep or if it’s frothing with white capped waves. It is in the wondering that they take delight in, the anticipation of seeing the water. It is in trying to describe blue in a hundred different ways. It is the moment just before we see the answer to our question that they get most excited. Their thoughts run wild as we peer over the edge of the hill and the horizon comes into view. We all scream the colour and congratulate the victor.
It is through these questions that we wonder. It starts with me paying attention to them and discovering my own sense of wonder. After awhile I begin to see the extraordinary in the ordinary – the divine in the details. This is wonder. The most indestructible wonder.
When one’s thoughts are released to roam through the lonely spaces of the universe, can be shared with a child even if you don’t know the name of a single star. You can still drink in the beauty, and think and wonder at the meaning of what you see.
– Rachel Carson, A Sense of Wonder
100 scribbles…hurriedly writing the here and now.