“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.” Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder
It’s a little past one in the afternoon. I call out, “Expedition Friends…time for our reading expedition.” Friends leave their play for a familiar routine. We head out the long trail that traverses the length of the farm’s property. We walk this trail nearly every day we are at the farm.
A friend walks up beside me as I lead the way. They slip their hand into mine and say, “I wonder what we will see today?” Even as the adult in this group, I never get tired of walking this path. I, too, wonder what we will see each day.
Each day there always seems to be something new to draw in our attention and to make us wonder…
a flock of bluebirds in December
two circling hawks
reflections in a water drop
a bald eagle
a feisty garter snake
the fire tree, which turned out to be a lone sugar maple on the hill
an illuminated stump
a tiny little toadstool
a dead shrew
a white-tail deer
footprints in the snow
a blue heron hunting in the pond
a downy woodpecker
It is a gift to visit the same place over and over, day after day. There is a comfort you get from visiting a place in nature repeatedly, a comfort that allows you look more deeply, to rest more completely. To see the changes subtle and large. To see favorite spots change through the seasons. After a while, you start to notice more… and then of course you wonder more too.
“Those who comtemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of the birds, the ebb and flow of the tides, the folded bud ready for the spring. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature—the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder