The Gift and Pleasure of Wonder

Where do you most experience the pleasure of wonder?

Does a few stolen, furtive, and sacred moments with a beloved soul friend present you with this gift?

Or, does a cup of coffee in your favorite Parisian cafe elicit sweet memories and moments of wonder?

Does the experience of immersing yourself in a treasured book take you places you never dreamed of, and where you become lost in your imagination?

Right before my surgery, a dear friend came and visited me. She is not someone I get to spend a lot of time with. But it does not matter. The connection is deep...

Over cups of tea, we shared secrets of the heart and and soul, and she presented me with a series of books she dearly treasures and loves -The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency - by Alexander McCall. She thought it was time for me to befriend these wonderful and gracious characters she has come to know during my time of recovery.

I have to tell you, my friend is very wise. I would never have voluntarily chosen to read these books, but I am touched by their beauty, and their simplicity, their morality, and the childlike wonder they have elicited in me. My friend knew it was the right time for me to make these characters' acquaintance.

And so, many hours now slowly pass me by as I delve deeply into the ten tomes I have in my possession...

This afternoon, I decided to venture forth to my neighborhood Border's which is closing to see if I could complete the series. I was amazed at the throngs of people carrying fistfuls of books all over the place, and the lines were longer than the ones I have seen at Christmas time.

While I did not find the remaining two volumes to this series, I was suddenly and overwhelmingly, very saddened. I knew, that I was witnessing the demise of an era. As I picked up books gently, and smelled them, and felt them in my hands, each one unique in its particular texture, I realized that future generations would no longer have the advantage or experience of curling up in a corner to lose themselves in the vast realm of wonder that lies hidden in very book, in the same way I had. All of a sudden, I regretted unloading every book I had ever given away or donated.

It was in some ways, like attending a wake or a funeral...

Sure, people will continue to read electronic books, but there is something that is just not the same. Somehow, reading Rumi, or favorite poets online is not quite like the ability to listen to pages rustle, carefully turning them, or the delicious experience of falling asleep with a book on one's lap during a winter evening.

Of course, there are plenty of sources and experiences of wonder to be had. For me, one of the most important ones is transmuting right before my eyes as I ripen into middle age.

What are the primary sources of wonder for you? This is worth contemplating...

And so, I leave you with this poem...

Primary Wonder
Days pass when I forget the mystery.
Problems insoluble and problems offering
their own ignored solutions
jostle for my attention, they crowd its antechamber
along with a host of diversions, my courtiers, wearing
their colored clothes; cap and bells.
And then
once more the quiet mystery
is present to me, the throng's clamor
recedes: the mystery
that there is anything, anything at all,
let alone cosmos, joy, memory, everything,
rather than void: and that, O Lord,
Creator, Hallowed One, You still,
hour by hour sustain it.
~ Denise Levertov


Popular posts from this blog

The Gift of a Blue Butterfly

Sitting with Darkness

Rumi - "The Lord is in Me" and "Love Said to Me"