Saturday evening, the museum where Cheyenne works held an outdoor celebration of Midsummer Eve, known in the Danish community as Sankt Hans Aften (St. John's Eve). Cheyenne, David, Josephine, and Edith all came, and Edith was royally passed around among the celebrants. At one point I was carrying her (yes, I got a turn too), and she and I walked under the very tree you see here. Edith looked up in amazement at what most of us would probably pass by without a thought. After all, it's just an ordinary little oak sapling. I stopped there for a while to let her take it in––the evening light sifting through the green––not at all ordinary. And to let me take in her expression of wonder.
As the eldest of nine children, I was less a child and more a surrogate parent to my siblings. But one element of childhood I didn't lose in that process and am grateful to have held onto is an abundance of curiosity. Sometimes I could wangle an excuse from dinner to bring an encyclopedia to the table to answer some question I'd wondered about aloud. Now, of course, it's the pocket encyclopedia I use. Often. When I visit new places, I notice things and ask locals questions about them––often things they don't know the answer to, perhaps because the thing has always just seemed like part of the scenery, perhaps because curiosity is not a part of their makeup.
And wonder! Wonder is a facet of curiosity. I don't mean wondering about something you don't know the answer to; I mean a sense of awe, often at the simplest things––like the light pouring through oak leaves and grabbing Edith's attention. Like the fact that a monarch caterpillar finds the milkweed in my garden––milkweed that wasn't there the year before––how do they home in that way? Like the ducks and geese finding the museum's new wetland the minute it's been created. How do they do that? Like Edith starting to smile back when we smile at her. No one shows her: This is a smile. Now you do it. She just does it, and it fills me with wonder.
What's something that filled you with wonder yesterday? Last week? Anytime?