By Barbara Anne Radtke One Sunday this past January, a friend and I decided to go out for lunch, even though snow was forecast for later in the day. We were seated in a paneled dining room in view of an indoor fireplace and a huge window that looked out on a quaint, urban side street. It was cozy. We viewed a picturesque scene. The boutique hotel across the street had a fire pit burning outside and a few guests sat in Adirondack chairs brightly bundled against the raw air.
Our food had just been served when it began to snow. My heart sank a bit. The forecast was for a “coating,” not enough to make driving difficult, but enough to make the walk back to the car risky when you use a cane and have old bones.
I was breathing a silent sigh when two kids came running out on the sidewalk. The girl was about 6 and the boy about 11. They began to twirl around trying to catch snowflakes on their tongues. Not native to this practice, they had their heads pointed down to the ground. A man who knew them came running out in his shirt sleeves. “Look up and stick out your tongue,” he shouted. Then he mimicked what he was trying to teach. Success for all! The whole tableau was like an animated Norman Rockwell painting. I abandoned my lunch for a few minutes to enjoy the scene. I became infected by its sense of wonder, nature’s gift of beauty right here in the city.
This event got me thinking about how, in these later years, I could easily choose to push wonder aside for other concerns, like slippery walking, which admittedly needs consideration. It helped me realize that it would be a loss to let go of a sense of wonder in my daily life. Awe in life is not only in BIG events like seeing a meteor shower or a baby being born, but is also there in the SMALL, daily moments, too. In fact, it is a dimension of life that would be good to cultivate wherever I found myself. Maybe a good place to begin would be to look back on the day and try to spot all the places that were or could have been wonder-filled. Did I miss any of them along the way? This practice would help me in the future to recognize the opportunity for wonder as it presented itself. I hope that you, dear reader, will share strategies you have to find everyday awe.
By the way, the walk to the parked car was without incident.
Response By Kathy Hendricks
I love this story, Barbara, and the great reminder to seek out the small wonders that are all around us. A few posts ago, I wrote about joining a women’s chorale. We are getting ready for a spring concert and one of our selections is “What a Wonderful World.” The lyrics about reveling in the colors of a rainbow and a friend’s smile echo this theme of simple awareness.
I feel like I have my own personal trainers when it comes to being schooled in wonder. My two-year-old grandson and five-year-old granddaughter draw my attention to all things I might otherwise miss. A walk around the block takes three times as long due to the frequent stops to admire sparkly stones or jump in puddle. They bring to mind the Hasidic saying, “Behind every blade of a grass is an angel urging it to grow.”
My own practice of wonder involves recalling at the end of the day five sensate experiences – something I’ve felt, seen, tasted, heard, and smelled. It evokes gratitude for this wonderful old world of ours. I look forward to hearing from you, dear readers, and how you are finding wonder in each day.