Reverb10 – Day 4 – Wonder

December 4 – Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

Ah. Earlier tonight I caught a burn while cooking – pies at our house tonight, both turkey pot and pecan pie! – and a week or so ago I gave myself such a serious burn as to darken it brown. John is convinced I burn &/or cut myself a lot in the kitchen and I usually disagree, and then we mock each other, as is only right.  But two burns in a week puts me on the losing side of the argument.

So when I read this, my first answer was “Burn myself, to wonder if John has been right all along, the bastard.”

This year I did a lot of wondering, but not in the “cultivating a sense of wonder” sort of way. I did a lot of wondering if the future made sense. I wondered if I could cope and contribute. I played the game of  wondering what if. I wondered where I should fit; where I should be.

All these wonders, I’m giving up for Lent, ignoring that it’s neither Lent nor am I Christian. (Catholic? I wonder if only Catholics celebrate Lent?)

Oh right: there’s another way I wonder, almost constantly. Tell truth, I try to discourage TOO much wondering, because I can go from sating my curiosity about how societies structure public and private domains to the mating habits of sea slugs in one straight orgy of wondering, and then the kids ask me where I’ve been for the week.

As to the other wonder, the one that I think we’re supposed to cultivate – like a child marvels at the Disneyland parade with a baffled shut-up-and-awe – well, I don’t know that I’m terribly good at making the emotion happen on command. I don’t know that I could be. It’s in perception.

For example, I’ve had moments of intense wonder and marvel looking at grass and thinking, shit, the entire universe of elements and energies has crashed together to make this tiny sun-eating earth-moving life that’s vacuuming molecules from around it and doing complex chemistry in order to build itself higher. And it is the most beautiful emerald green in the sun, and it smells good. That moment was WONDERFUL. But that moment was authentic and a surprise; reaching for it feels sort of like sad nostalgia. I end up feeling sort of dirty.

The only go-back-repeatedly wonder I’ve had are my kids; but even still, it’s in a moment of seeing, and I can’t force it. I can’t say “time for wonder, now, aren’t they amazing?”

I think you just have to wait and be open and be looking, and then some days the wonder is there around a corner to punch you in the face.


  1. I believe sea slugs are hermaphroditic.

    Keep wondering. Wondering is how we learn.

  2. I know we just met, but I’m totally stealing the line “one straight orgy of wondering.” I love it.

  3. Hi, Sharon!

    It’s a good trade! Not that I have tons of people come by here, but I was going to put the phrase I stole from you here to let ’em know – but instead I’ll suggest they go read your post themselves!

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