A sense of wonder

photo by Merida

photo by Merida, age 6

(This post was prompted by a discussion in one of my classes about Rachel Carson’s A Sense of Wonder.)

When I was a kid, I used to watch raindrops on the window, and imagine tiny dramas played out with them. I wrote about the raindrops in my manifesto #1, here.

I had never told my daughter Merida about this idea of the raindrops.

Last summer, in the car on the way to Toronto, I noticed she was staring at the rainy side window, and she started telling me about the raindrops racing. (This made me so happy, in that crying kind of way…reminded me of the end of Peter Pan, when Wendy Grows Up and her daughter Jane is the one who goes to help Peter with his spring cleaning, and so on through the generations. J.M. Barrie writes: “As you look at Wendy, you may see her hair becoming white, and her figure little again, for all this happened long ago. Jane is now a common grown-up, with a daughter called Margaret; and every spring cleaning time, except when he forgets, Peter comes for Margaret and takes her to the Neverland, where she tells him stories about himself, to which he listens eagerly. When Margaret grows up she will have a daughter, who is to be Peter’s mother in turn; and thus it will go on, so long as children are gay and innocent and heartless.”)

I like to believe about myself that I’m paying close attention a lot of the time (hence immortalizing this idea in my manifesto) but I’m not sure that I do.  In fact, I’m sure that I don’t, not often enough, and as I see the grains of “baby” draining out of my child, I keep thinking, “Wake up, Rebecca!  Stop washing the dishes!  Listen to her!  Look in her eyes!  Watch her as she’s drawing!”  (And the times I have consciously stopped and watched her as she is drawing, I feel I can see how her mind works.  Can see how she makes sense of things.)

How she makes sense of things is often related to nature, because, thankfully, she has a life where she gets to spend a lot of time outside, observed from a distance, but without nature being mediated, packaged, overly explained. She has freedom to discover all those tiny things now that I so often overlook.

This is the nature of the generations, these are the cycles of humanity, but oh, how lovely when we can again slow down and see those nearly-invisible wonders.

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