25 June, 2018

Have you ever wondered ......

(Image courtesy : bibi2be.com via Google)
Have you ever wondered about things around you?  How long has it been since you were in awe of things around you?  How long has it been since you stared at something very obvious with a gaze of respect, admiration, astonishment and reverence even?
This weekend, on two specific occasions and many separate instances, I was humbled by the sense of awe that I witnessed in these little people that we call children.  A child’s world, for the most part, is viewed through the eyes of wonder, curiosity, marvel and excitement. We don’t see children making judgments of why things are so, or why things are not so. 
I watched in amazement at a child in the supermarket the other day.  This little toddler perched on a trolley in the supermarket as his mum unloaded groceries to be billed was fascinated ! He was captivated - not by those colourful packs in the supermarket that are meant and devised to entice.  He was spellbound by the beeps that emanated from the counter as the cashier held the bar codes against the laser reader.  He was charmed by the movement on the computer screen – things were actually moving on the screen without anyone touching the screen and his eyes grew round and big with wonder and I’m not exaggerating when I say I could see wonder in those eyes.  He was mesmerized by a flickering light on the ceiling – something, we, as adults, don’t even look at.  He looked up and he looked down – he realized that he was seeing things differently when the light flickered on and when it flickered off, just for that instant.  He was riveted, he was gripped in the moment, was just living in the moment and absorbing the wonder of it all and was clearly entranced, awe-struck.  It was a beautiful thing to watch – the blooming of that sense of wonder without any strings attached.
I watched yet another little child yesterday and was fascinated by the sense of curiosity she exhibited.  A simple little stuffed toy – a duck – accompanied by an adult going ‘Quack Quack’ was sufficient to send her into a spate of giggles and joy untold.  She stared with absolute curiosity at the multiple buttons on a fan and I revered that sense of awe she exhibited when she pressed a button and the fan started to revolve.  I watched in wonder as she closed her little eyes for an instant, just letting the coolness of the breeze from the fan drive away that humidity and then there was that moment of epiphany that a two year old taught me.  She opened her little eyes, looked at me, unconditionally impressed by a simple fan and said, with a deep breath ‘Air !  So much air’.  That fan, that could make things cooler by going round and round, had indubitably brought about a sense of wonder in a little child who in that instant, revered that fan for having brought about coolness.  It was the sheer simplicity, the innocence, the purity and goodness in that look of hers – a mixture of wonder, curiosity, marvel and appreciation, all rolled into one – that made my eyes misty, made me wonder at this wonder that are little children and as an adult, made me wonder why and how we lose this sense of wonder in our journey towards adulthood.    
These moments have been captured in my mind’s eye for eternity.
Children are too busy being in awe of life and they simply view things for what they are.  They view the world through a glass of innocence, purity and curiosity unlike us adults, who complicate things by viewing the world through a kaleidoscope, painting pictures in colours that don’t exist, complicating things by assigning preconceived notions to situations, tainting situations with colours that, in reality, may not even exist.
Why and how do we lose our sense of wonder as we become adults?
Is it because of that sense of control over the future that kicks in slowly but steadily ?  I wonder.  Adult humans plan for the future, not knowing if indeed there is a future we are moving towards.  We make ourselves believe that planning for the future gives us a sense of control over our lives.  Possibly yes.  But this does not necessarily have to be at the cost of the present.  Growing up and growing old even, does not have to be at the cost of losing that sense of wonder, that miraculous sense of curiosity that we are naturally endowed with. 
I do wonder, sometimes, about things around me.  I have always wondered about how it must look from a little bee’s perspective, as it approaches a flower. Does it look like markings on a helipad, does it look like a bull’s eye on a target board ?  These are questions only the little bee can answer but it does not stop me from wondering.  This sense of wonder has led me to respect them anew – so little and yet so wise.
The other day, as we were out on our evening walk, it had just rained and we looked at trees along the path – these leaves like needlepoint and each leaf pregnant with a drop of water at the very edge of the leaf, hanging on precariously, dangerously.  I wondered then, if drops of water could actually think and if they could, what would they be thinking right then ?  Would they be too engrossed in trying not to fall or would they be busy waging a mental war, determined to fight gravity?  We will never know, but it does not have to stop us from wondering, does it ? 
I look at snails and to me, they are little embodiments of self-sufficiency.  They are the very quintessence of self-reliance, they epitomize autonomy and yet, we adults, who live amidst a bunch of concrete walls, actually have the gall to consider them inferior?  
I look at two pigeons who, multiple times in a day, perch on the kitchen sill.  They are familiar figures now, staring into the kitchen with their beady little eyes.  So familiar that they don’t particularly seem scared of people now.  They use our kitchen sill as a launching pad to the floor above.  It makes me wonder if they are building a nest somewhere above and in my mind, I do remember to send a little prayer their way as, the respect I feel for them is immeasurable.  They embody resilience and spirit as twig after twig, little piece of string after string, they are irresolute, they build their house season after season.  While we, who consider ourselves at the top of the food chain, live in houses that are built to last, and whine and moan about how something does not work or how something is broken.  Tell me, who is the stronger of the two ?  I have often wondered what animals and birds think of us humans.  I still continue to wonder.
Socrates said, “Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.” To walk through life with a sense of wonder will probably enable us to open up to a higher knowledge that is beyond the physical mind. Imagine.  Wonder.  These are effective conduits to a higher plane of awareness, to reaching out to our inner self, which is actually meant to be our true self, the one that knows the truth of who we actually are.
When we start to see the wonder of each moment, of Mother Nature’s creations, by simply being in the moment and appreciating life and feeling good, we probably start to affiliate ourselves deeper with things around us.
The Universe has probably built it in to us, to acknowledge the sense of wonder, to be in awe of life, to stop and appreciate the present moment, to offer a smile, a kind word or deed to all living beings around us – birds, snails, butterflies, humans – not expecting anything in return but just for that sheer joy and the wonder around us.
If you do see me standing around talking to a snail or dreaming at the lazy circles made by butterflies or cootchie-cooing to the birds and the pigeons around, or having a tete-a-tete with flowers in the park, call me crazy if you like but I’d like to reclaim that sense of wonder.  I’d very much like to pause for a bit in this crazy busy world, take a few deep breaths and wonder at the sheer magnificence of life and Mother Nature, celebrate the miracle of being alive and wonder away. 
Like Walt Streitiff so truly said
‘There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child.  There are seven million’.

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