Over the last few weeks, I have watched my beech hedge turn from looking dead and bare to being filled with new life, firstly as buds, and then green leaves that almost seem to glow. I don’t have to go anywhere to observe this miracle of nature – I just have to be still for long enough to notice. This is one of thousands of examples of the wonder of our natural world, and spring is a great time to be reminded of that, as so many things come back to life.
I like the word wonder, and the adjective, wonderful. They mean amazement, astonishment, and imply that we are reacting to the magic of our world. We may be able to explain some of these things scientifically, but that doesn’t mean we have to lose our sense of wonder.
As children, we are amazed by lots of things that adults seem to ignore or take for granted. We notice all those things in the natural world: how clouds change shape; the different songs birds sing; the colours and patterns on butterflies. And we also see magic in man-made things: how light goes on and off at the flick of a switch; how we can talk to someone many miles away as if they were in the room; how sheep’s wool can become a colourful sweater. All this wonder gives us a sense of possibility and creativity, as well as delighting us, making us smile or laugh.
This awareness of the magic and wonder of our world is also something that people often come back to when they know they are dying, or have narrowly escaped death. I remember Dennis Potter, the playwright, movingly describing his delight in blossom on the trees, the feel of sunshine on his skin.
Yet in between our childhood and the end of our lives, we seem to be too busy or ‘practical’ to allow ourselves just to wonder. We may occasionally feel that sense of delight – most people I know can’t help but go ‘Ooooh!’ when they see fireworks – but most of the time we don’t take advantage of the many things we have to wonder at, we don’t take the moment it takes to feel that amazement at the world we have.
It seems to me that the sense of wonder is part of the essence of the human spirit, intended to give us delight, reminders of possibility, and help us make this world a better place. So let’s re-find it now, and enjoy it for most of our lives, not just at the beginning and end.
Take a few minutes to be amazed and delighted every day.
- Look at the sky outside your window – how big is that! And how beautiful!
- Notice how perfectly and uniquely nature has shaped that tree
- See the exquisite perfection of that butterfly and its movement
- Be astonished by how that combination of metals and mechanics you sit in can transport you from a to b so easily
- Notice how often the flick of a switch gives you power that has come from an unseen source
Let’s not take for granted all the wonders in our world, let’s appreciate and delight in them, and recognise their value. We would be lost and bereft without them, so let’s remember how much they really mean to us.