Doing or Being?

I wonder about this word, “wonder.” Do we mean the action of wondering about something? Or do we mean being taken completely in by a thing, as in “the wonder of it all?”

I think about experiences that I had as a child and that I then experienced with my own children. One of my grandmother’s had a sliding glass door in her den that looked out onto a small garden backyard where she fed the birds every day. I can remember standing at that glass door (be very quiet and still or you will scare the birds away–I was told). The red birds would fly in, and the blue jays. And little brown birds–lots of them, sparrows I was told.  I remember the wonder of it all, how watching them come in, grab a scrap of toast just delivered to the bird feeder, watching them splash around in the water fountain made me gasp.  Oh, look! Oh, look! Oh, look! (I was neither still nor quiet). 

And I had a thousand questions–why are these red, those blue, those so tiny, why so many of those little brown ones, why the big blue ones seem to scare the others away, why are they mean, and to my grandmother directly: why don’t you like the squirrels? I wondered about a lot of things standing there gasping in wonder. I remember more than once being told that I had to stop all the questions for a while (give grandmother a break). Because there appears to be some sort of balance built into these things, I would field as many or more such questions from my own children years later.

Human wonder is a state of being, and it is a thing we do–all the time. When I was growing up, adults tended to try and keep all that wondering under control. I’m not sure that was a good move. Wondering and being caught up in wonder at the beauty and bigness of it all is at the core of who we are. If the holiday seasons do nothing else for us, may they rekindle the wondering and the wonder for us.

~Bob Patrick 

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2 Responses to Doing or Being?

  1. Roy Reynolds says:

    Yes Bob. Thank you. It seems that every day something I notice takes me into that place of wonder. Gratefully, Roy

  2. katrina yurko says:

    I like the analogy about the birds. They are a bridge between the Wild and the Domestic. Birds just outside the screen door , so close, yet so far away from being called “pets”. I have the birds, they are my pets for now. They inspire a sense of wonder in me because they live in my personal space, (my tiny little section of the planet) and they bring with them a wonderful arrangement of Science, art, Natural order and music. I mean, come on, how could anyone expect more? It really depends on how many questions you have and how deeply you can observe their patterns. Wonder and intrigue abound!

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