I’m working on my wonder. It needs a bit of a tune-up. My wonder has gone wonky, as it were. The bad things, the overwhelming and seemingly hopeless, tend to take wonder and throw it in the dryer on hot until it shrinks up and forever thereafter fails to cover the proverbial muffin top of existence.
I’m working on my wonder. Wondering, I’ve mastered. I have wondered why and how and when, with no shortage of what the ____ (noun). But wonder, that’s a whole other basket of kittens. It carries the best and worst of what we, as individuals and together, have to offer. We can stand in wonder of kindness and courage, just as we can stand in wonder of cruelty and the unthinkable. We can stand in wonder of ourselves and what we can build, just as we can stand in wonder of our baffling taste for self- and collective destruction. We can wonder at the world we’ve created for ourselves, just as we can wonder at the world we’ve created for ourselves.
I’m working on my wonder. My ability to shift wondering, which lives for the most part in the past and the future, into wonder, which flourishes in the present. When I am top-lip deep in asking questions for which there are no answers, I drown in wondering. When I marvel that a fuzzy bumble bee should light long enough for me to capture it at work, I embrace my wonder. When all the things have gone to hell in a hay wagon, I lose myself in wondering. When I stop fretting long enough to ask myself, what can I do in this moment, I allow myself to be guided by wonder.
I’m working on my wonder.
“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.”
– Rachel Carson
I wonder at Rachel Carson’s words, a pioneer in conservation and wordsmith speaking truth to mindful power and against an establishment that would sell wonder at a 700% mark-up before blowing it to smithereens. I wonder at this woman, a scientist, a poet, a revolutionary at a time when women created in spite of, perhaps because of, and without a doubt in defiance of. No, not now, not us. Although I do wonder. But I wonder at timeless tenacity and voices that carry over a century, like an echo with an eternal ring.
I’m working on my wonder. Is it a skill, a guide, a connection to something beyond my reach and comprehension? Does the world gift me wonder, or do I gift the world with wonder, or both? How do I hold wonder close, even as the bitter taste of destruction fills my mouth?
I’m working on my wonder. Because I believe there is a hope in and specific to wonder. Because I believe in the transformative nature of wonder. Because we can, with disconcerting ease and without noticing, get lost in the cold, dark halls of wondering, as the warm fleeting light of wonder passes unnoticed.
I’m working on my wonder. As an act of rebellion. Apathy and wonder cannot coexist. I’m working on my wonder. As a lifeline when all seems lost. Despair and wonder cannot coexist. I’m working on my wonder. As a means to empower and resist. Silence and wonder cannot coexist.
I’m working on my wonder. Because I must, for me and for us, I must work on my wonky wonder.