When I was younger, one of my favorite soothing activities was to go off in nature by myself. Sometimes that involved staring up at the clouds through the trees, feeling the grass prickle my back as I recoiled. Other times, like in college, it meant going off to sit and stare at the ocean, with no one else around. Today, I needed a moment to reset. On my 4 mile walk/jog I paused to listen to the birds, crunch a piece of grass between my fingers, feel the wind on my face.
Pausing in nature brings me closer to wonder.
I couldn’t get too close, but this little strip of trees by the baseball fields did the job. 🙂
Day 95 was yesterday. I missed my post. Today I’ll do two. Yesterday I forgot what day of the week it was. Friday? Thursday? It was Saturday. I haven’t slept a full night’s sleep in a week. With B out of school, our schedule has been….what? Not a schedule. The past two days the temperature hovered around 40. Too cold to play in the driveway or take family walks with Shiloh around the neighborhood. This made me realize I really appreciated when it was beautiful out. 70. No mosquitos yet. Not humid. I could live in 70 forever.
It’s been 21 days since we quarantined for the coronavirus. School has been difficult. Life has been…difficult? But also speckled with small beautiful moments that I want to swallow.
I slept 5 hours last night, up since 4:30 am when B entered our bed. What wonder did I experience yesterday? Being outside by myself is my wonder. Running. My ears almost froze off yesterday and I remember wondering how wild it was — to go from a tank top one day to freezing the next.
My mom also sent Nick and me masks in the mail. It’s now recommended everyone wears a mask. A scary time to be alive. Pray for all of us.
I’m from California. Snow is a rare gem. Fortunately, it is for Oklahoma too. (I could never do it much more than this. I like my oceans and sunshine year round.) Cities and schools basically shut down if it snows. My campus and Bennett’s school were both closed today.
Outside, we ventured: mini snowmen, tumbling in fluffy fresh snow, tasting it on the tips of our tongues.
Later tonight I went on a walk—a path I walk or jog almost daily, but tonight it seemed new. A bird nest filled with snow nestled atop a tree, a lawn spelled the word “misfits” and all the houses looked like they were out of a snowy Christmas story book dream.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how wonder is not quite what I hypothesized it as: deep and accessible. This experiment has complicated that definition and challenged it. I think of wonder as small surprises, natural delights, the changing of time, growth. But overall, today this phrase came to me: The World is For You….Not Against You.
What do I mean by that?
I was trying to pick just one wonderful thing that happened today, and my mind was moving like a spider across a web, trying to pick just one. So I will share them, chronologically.
At 6:45 am, my son knocked on my door. He sleeps in a crib and I’ve been scooping him up out of his crib every morning for 3 years and eleven days. The knock made me pause. My boy was getting bigger. He was a monkey and could climb out of his crib easily, but even in his athletic ability, he still called my name in the morning from his room. Him knocking startled and delighted me. I told him to jump in my bed and get some more rest. I wasn’t ready for this moment, yet, I was. Of course I was. But in a way I was sad to realize my son wouldn’t need me in the ways I’d been accustomed to. But I was delighted by his independence, his growth, his joy to come and find me.
At 10:00 am, I entered a fairly empty TJ Maxx looking for thank you cards to send to everyone who so lovingly bought my son a birthday gift and/or attended his third birthday party. I know handwritten thank you cards are so old school, but I love them. However, once inside TJ Maxx one cannot just buy the desired item one came for then leave. (Cardinal rule!) I stumbled upon an orange Nike Oklahoma State hat…..normally $25, on sale for $6. This was a moment of wonder to me. I’d been wanting a hat, there the hat sat, on the shelf, waiting.
At 4:45 pm, I was on a jog. Well. It was more of a walk than a job because it had been cold and I had been busy so I hadn’t gone as frequently. When I run I play Spotify music from my phone that cozies up inside an athletic fanny pack. And as I was running, the birds chirped like it was spring, a melody, their own song. They were louder than my music and I attuned my ear to listen to just them. Before iPhones and digital music and cassette players — there were the birds. To sing and sing and sing some more.
So, world: how do I pick which wonder? Perhaps a side effect of this experiment is noticing wonder more, subconsciously. And by seeing more than one wonder a day, I affirm that the world is on my side. I can look at the small three moments today and see this to be true.
Today was a really sad day — a plane of 9 crashed in Calabasas, CA — on the plane was LA Lakers basketball star Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna. A lot are assuming there were other kids with their parents aboard the helicopter. It’s striking how piercing these moments are — for not just the sports world, but the entire world. We have been shook. These things aren’t supposed to happen and when they do, it’s devastating.
So today’s wonder happened with humor, grace, patience — while raking leaves. The leaves in the front yard seemed to have been given steroids. They kept showing up, about a feet deep, the bottom layer was wet. Bennett and I tried to tackle them, making multiple mounds. There had to be over a million leaves in the yard. It made me wonder: what did people do with leaves before rakes? They didn’t disintegrate fast enough. It also made me think about how miraculous a tree is, to grow all those leaves back.
Sending love to the people who lost their lives today on that helicopter, and sending strength to the families they left behind.
3:30 PM: Wind whips across my cheeks, I pull my hands deep into my pockets, keep my head down. But the way the sun glares, just bright enough, for a brief moment, has me stop. The clouds and sun demand to be seen, peaking out behind the oldest building on campus and desolate trees. I obey the command to briefly stop, take the scene in.