When I was a kid, I was fascinated by the images of the seven wonders of the world, the ancient world. The pyramids, and the hanging towers of Babylon, which may never have existed.
Recently, I have been thinking lots about the every day wonder in my world, times I have been awe-struck, felt wonder, been amazed, and here’s the first seven that popped into my head today.
1. The crooked Nipawin car and train bridge. This high and curious looking bridge winds over the Saskatchewan River. As a kid I was scared to cross this bridge in our car, fearing there’d be someone coming from the other side on the single lane bridge. I dreamt about this bridge, about falling into the river, many times, always surfacing.
My mom talked about walking the train bridge listening for oncoming trains, and my grandkids and I walked the rail, what an experience. Whenever I visit the area, I go and take in the sight of this bridge, now closed to traffic.
2. These three little sparks of light. Really what is more awesome than three great grandsons, that’s Colton, Jack and Arch. Thinking about them lights up my day. I have to say it has occurred to me that they wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t here. Now that is humbling.
3. Trees. Yes, trees, if you were to look through my photo collection, you’d see how many photos I have taken of trees, of leaves, of branches, live trees, dead trees, trees that change and look up the sky. I am sure that is why I enjoyed my park pilgrimage in our city’s parks so much.
4. Libraries. When I was around 9 or 10, my friend Glenna and I went to the new library, a few shelves I think, set up in the local legion hall of our small town. I was in awe of the books for young folks to read, the books I could take home. Glenna’s mom, Ida, said I could read all of the Anne of Green Gables books. I was filled with awe, really. Now, I get to enjoy our local libraries in Saskatoon and there’s the little free library down the street, organized by our neighbour Arla.
5. The sky. Sunsets, sunrises, night sky, clouds. How could I not be filled with awe, laying on the ground as a young girl looking up at the dancing northern lights or laying on the ground as an adult looking up at how the sky looks different in other areas of the world.
I have a fond memory from quite a few years ago, our then five-year-old granddaughter Kennedy, jumped up from the floor and the craft project in front of us, and shouted ‘oh my gosh’. At first I thought something was wrong, until she ran to the window, pointed at the exquisite sunset and exclaimed ‘that is sooooo beautiful!!!’
6. First grandchild. Let’s be clear, all grandkids are special, and I am grateful daily, for my biggest blessing ever, my daughters Kari and Nicole. But when I held my first grandchild, I was connected not just to her but also to my ancestors in such a meaningful and magical way. I sensed Meghan being connected to her mom’s umbilical cord, then mine, and my mom’s and to my grandma Isa Mae’s and on and on.
People who know me know about Meghan.
7. Underwater World. The first time I went snorkeling and saw the amazing life under water, I felt like a part of the ocean. And when I, with what was great courage, got my deep water diving certificate, I was in the water with sharks and turtles.
I recall taking my grandson Abe snorkelling and at first, he was reluctant, said he didn’t want to do it, his head would go down, and he’d come up and say I don’t want to do this. His mom stayed by his side and said let’s keep going, and then he put his head down and came up and said ‘oh my gosh look at that, look at all the fish!’ He was hooked.
As I reflect on these wonders, I see how they line up with my values of creativity, beauty, gratitude, and love of learning. And taking these in, remembering them, is a balm for my heart and soul, in these most of challenging of times.
Interestingly, the words awe and wonder seem to be coming up in so many places, like Katherine May’s best-selling book Enchantment: Awakening Wonder in an Anxious World. I enjoyed Enchantment as much as her book Wintering. I also appreciate her newsletter, Stray Attention. It was because of her that I was called to write about wintering.