Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Sense of Wonder

We knew that Montana and Wyoming would be amazing, but we were not prepared for the sense of wonder that really just blew our minds when we arrived. We traveled through Bear Tooth Pass and saw incredible views of the alpine tundra and even took a brief hike. 

Our next excursion that day took us to Trout Lake in Yellowstone where there were fields of wildflowers, a peaceful lake, a beautiful sunset and even Trout spawning under the bridge.

What really put the icing on the cake though was finding a copy of Rachel Carson's book, The Sense of Wonder. When we were sitting around relaxing at the cabin, I found it on the bookshelf.

Carson explained that many adults have lost their sense of wonder and have become blind to nature's gifts. "A child's world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement." (p. 42) She adds that, "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." (p. 45) It seemed to fit perfectly with our trip. We were all sharing the wonder of the world around us. 

She also addressed something I think about sometimes. What if I don't know the names of the plants or animals or whatever it is that we are seeing? Carson seemed to believe that having all of the specific facts isn't the point. "It is more important to pave the way for a child to want to know more than to put him on a diet of facts he is not ready to assimilate." (p. 45) She points to the simple activities saying, "Exploring nature with your child is largely a matter of becoming receptive to what lies all around you." (p. 52)

Reading this book helped me to be more aware of our surroundings and to revel in the world around us throughout the beautiful week our family shared. I hope I am able to keep that sense of wonder alive my whole life. I never want to become blind to nature and its many layers. Carson's book also reminded me of Wonderopolis and the way they encourage wondering, exploring, creating and sharing through their marvelous website. They inspire curiosity and encourage a thirst for learning. 

I wish you a fabulous summer filled with hours of wonder and discovery!

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