Despite a rather full writing schedule right now, or perhaps because of it, I’m trying to read more than ever. It’s as if I have to put words back into my brain after a day of laying them on out on the page. So I have several books going, and since I’m determined to work my way through the rest of the series, one of them is Little House on the Prairie.
As I read I’m reminded of something that struck me recently in Little House in the Big Woods: the sense of wonder which permeates the point-of-view character. Now she’s only six in the first book, and only seven or eight in the second one, so that sense of childish awe is not all that surprising. But I remember her innocent appreciation of the everyday struck me way back when I read these the first time as a child myself. It gave me new eyes when I went out into the world even then.
It’s a welcome reminder now, too.
Anymore, we’re taught not to marvel at the mundane as adults, and increasingly even children are becoming cynical and too worldly too early. (Yes, soon I’ll be that old lady who shakes her fist and screams, “Pull up your pants and get off my lawn!” at the jailin’ neighbor kids.)
Everything is “awesome” but nothing inspires awe.
We don’t want to seem naive, or to come across as backwoods rubes. God forbid we look foolish. So after a while we get out of the habit. We stop noticing really remarkable things all around us. Noticing and appreciating.
The first thing that can reconnect us to a sense of wonder is nature. Spring is around the corner, and the plethora of growth and rebirth that comes with it is a perfect opportunity to allow ourselves to marvel. Getting a tomato out of a seed by doing little more than providing water is … marvelous. The persistence of perennials after sub-zero temperatures is amazing. And baby animals? Don’t get me started.
But also think about the technology that we use. The connections we have via social networks, emails, and blogs. E-book readers. I-Pads. Telephones that wake us up, tell us the weather, provide access to the Internet, play music, give us games and show us movies.
Stop. Think about all that. Pretty freakin’ cool, no?
And personally I am often quietly astonished by the chemistry of the home. How soap works by making water wetter. How yeasts that exist in the air can be harnessed to make sourdough bread rise – and taste downright delicious. How combining lye and oil results in soap. How bacteria create yogurt and cheese, culture butter, and ferment vegetables. How water and agitation makes wool turn into felt.
What do you find wonder-full? Please share.