Reverb10 question for 4 December: How did you cultivate a sense of wonder this year?
By breaking it down to the simplest things.
It’s been a tough year for our family – my fall on New Year’s Eve, and Kristina’s massive concussion in the spring – these injuries lasted into the year, the treatments extend into now.
We also did some wonder-full things – a winter trip to the Big Island of Hawaii, another to visit family and colleges in the summer.
After my fall, when I hurt too much to stand or sit for long, I wondered at how I had not broken any bones. I found wonder in the coincidence of my husband being home to find me on my back in the driveway.
When my daughter could not finish her sentences or find words, I waited, and noticed other things. I wondered at the ways her body was protecting her, giving her brain time to heal.
I suppose I cultivate a sense of wonder by always looking for the positive, the upside.
If that is hard to find, I seek the thing to be grateful for. Even if it’s an, “at least…” as in, “at least I didn’t break anything” or “at least she didn’t end up in a coma.” Sometimes that is the best I can get out of a moment.
Then I can move from a place of gratitude for the “at least” onto more positive things.
I am grateful for all the time Kristina and I had together while she recovered, even though it was hard. I wonder at her healing and recovery.
Wonder and gratitude are inextricably linked for me.
On the days when I could no longer cope, or find anything good to focus on, I took my dog for a walk in the woods.
That was my balm, a soothing touchstone for my soul – the changing light through the branches, the variety of birdsong and squirrel-chitter, the shapes of leaves and textures of moss and bark, the nesting eagles passing overhead with a warning cry.
This year, in early fall, I saw a coyote in the woods near our home for the first time. A few years ago, in late spring, a barred owl welcomed me to her neighbourhood with a long unblinking stare.
I feel the same sense of wonder when I go to a beach, not so much a tropical beach of uniform sand, but a northwest beach full of life, a complete ecosystem of waves and limpets and moon snails and sea stars and kelp.
The constant waves – sometimes a crash, sometimes no louder than the pulse of my own blood – this is wonder, this helps keep my troubles in perspective.
Wonder and nature are inextricably linked for me.
On the Christmas calendar today: a pair of hair pins with tiny beaded purple flowers