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Sense of Wonder

Posted in wonder by dingodonkey on August 23, 2009

For young children, the world as we see it is teeming with wonders. Waterfalls, rainbows, birds, fish, the night sky, you name it, it’s all fantastic. When we grow up, it all becomes dull and familiar and somehow less wonderful.

large_TR.MimaMima Mound photo by Terry Richard (The Oregonian)
A sight wonderful even to adults.

Oftentimes we pass by the wonders of creation as mundane. From time to time, as our schedules permit, we might even stop to admire their beauty. But when was the last time, in all honesty, that you picked up an acorn in your hand, and looked up at the big oak tree from whence it fell, and paused in a moment of wonderment?

Children do it all the time. Let’s not let our crazy ideas ruin the world for them:

There’s a new bogeyman lurking in the closet, and this one isn’t imaginary. Us. One out of three children aged 6 to 11 fears that Ma Earth won’t exist when they grow up, while more than half—56 percent—worry that the planet will be a blasted heath (or at least a very unpleasant place to live), according to a new survey.

When I was in public elementary school, they taught us that by the time we were adults, there would be no more trees. We were instructed to go home and beg our parents to plant trees. While I can see now that this is absurd, at the time I dutifully complied! I have no doubt that our teachers really believed in this cause, that this is what they had to have us do. What I do doubt is that they still marveled with any sense of wonderment over those trees they sought to save. Maybe we should have been the ones teaching them.

This is one way that we would all do well to become like children:

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me. (Matthew 18:1-5)

I want to make this a recurring theme in this blog — tying together man and the divine through wonder.  We need this in our lives.

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The Night Sky

Posted in wonder by dingodonkey on August 23, 2009

I’m one of the one-fifth of the world’s population that can’t see the Milky Way at night.  Yes, I live in a fairly rural/suburban area of Western New York.  It’s an hour and a half or two hour drive to get to the nearest cities (Rochester, Syracuse, etc).  But there’s no Milky Way unless I drive a half hour out into the country.

milkyway

I’ve never seen the stunning natural views of Jim Richardson shooting for National Geographic’s November 2008 article on light pollution.  Never in my entire life have I even come close.

I only see the bright stars.  There are more than I can count — it’s not like I live in a city and can only see two stars — but I only see the points of light, no stunning celestial clouds.  I need to fix this.

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