Last night as my husband and I stood in the garden, admiring the growing things and enjoying the reddish hues the sky had thrown on as the sun sank behind the hill, two flocks of Canada geese flew over our heads in typical “V” formation. As they passed overhead, honking away in what I assume is conversation, I heard the sound of their wings as the feathers and sinew and bone cut through the air. The collective flapping of synchronized wing beats. The whish whish of flight.
I’ve never heard that in my life. As a child of the big city, anything other than the honking as the geese flew by was drowned out by the city sounds of traffic and construction. Not so, here. My husband seemed amused at my wonderment. I asked him if he’d heard that sound before, to which he replied, of course, while hunting. Not the first, nor the last time I’ll envy his country upbringing.
But that point is moot. I hope that today, wherever you find yourself, you find wonder in your life. We all could use a little more wonder.
We took Jonathan on his first hike in Glacier National Park this past weekend. First we drove most of the way up the Going-to-the-Sun Road. The photo above is of Bird Woman Falls. The photo below is of Haystack Falls, another waterfall along the route.
We wanted to go to the top, to Logan Pass, and look around for a while at all the snow still up there, but with the construction we ended up just sitting for a while in an enormous line of cars before we said to heck with it. That’s how it rolls when you’ve got a baby who is hungry and who doesn’t want to be in his car seat anymore. So, improvising, we decided to go on a hike instead. We are trying to get Jonathan used to being in the backpack. We are doing this by taking longer and longer hikes with him, working him up to being in the backpack for a few hours at a time.
We decided to do the Johns Lake hike. It’s short and sweet and it did seem like the perfect amount of time for our son. At the beginning of the hike we could tell he was very interested in all the trees. It occurred to us that while walking through the trees is completely quotidian to us, to Jonathan is was an entirely new experience. Would that I could approach things with such wonder with more frequency in my own life. Having a baby certainly helps with that! We hiked to the lake and kept going to the underpass that goes under Going-to-the-Sun Road and comes out along McDonald Creek.
Remember to wonder, people. Look at something you’ve seen before with new eyes, the eyes of an infant. Contemplate something average in your life and make it wonderful. It’s a refreshing experience.
Bowman Lake in Glacier National Park is a special place to my husband and me. It’s the first place we ever camped together (we love camping). It’s also the first place we camped in Glacier Park. It’s the place where our engagement photos were shot. And it’s the place we took our son Jonathan on his first trip to Glacier.
Of course he loved it. See? What a happy boy. We think he enjoyed seeing the lake. He’s really started to LOOK at things, to take them in. It’s a very cool thing to watch him learn.
While we were there, I snapped this photo of two tree swallows hanging out by the lake.
Today Jonathan will be baptized into the United Methodist Church. Though I want Jonathan to someday make his own decisions about his relationship with God, he will be raised in the church. I will give him the jumping off point, and he can find his own spot to land. Our pastor suggested we get some water from a local body of water (northwest Montana is a lake district) that holds special significance. So of course we chose Bowman. We filled a mason jar with water flowing from the lake into Bowman Creek, at the lake’s end and the creek’s beginning. We are passing on the significance of this place to our son, but want him to experience his own journey. We are the lake, he is the creek.
Shawn and I decided that we’re going to start an annual camping trip with our children (yes, we’re planning on another kiddo… but not for a while so don’t get all excited!) at Bowman Lake. We want to share that special place with them. Of course we’ll go other places in Glacier Park, but we’ll always visit Bowman (how convenient that the Polebridge Merc and its amazing huckleberry turnovers are on the way!). Shawn and I want to teach our children to be stewards of the land. We want them to feel the same sense of wonder we do in the forests of Glacier National Park, and in the grasslands of Nebraska. We hope to teach our children that they are a part of the world, unique and wonderful, but also tiny, ethereal, and only existing but a moment in the grand stretch of time.
Some mornings, you get stars in your oatmeal. How cool is that?
(No, I did not photoshop this image. It’s just naturally awesome and both my husband and I were amazed.)
Sometimes the best way to start the day is by noticing the little wonders all around us. Case in point: blueberry stars. Other such wonders include staring into the eyes of my darling son as he smiles up at me in the morning from his crib. How those eyes have changed and become his own over the past five months, and how I have enjoyed that transformation. Ordinary wonders like friendships. Recurring wonders like that feeling when you look at your spouse while he’s laughing and feel yourself falling in love all over again.
Shawn and I are in a waiting period that has us both frustrated. We hate waiting. We are not patient people. We just want to get on with this new adventure and work hard to make it successful. So it’s good to step back from that frustration and find little things worth appreciating, like stars in the blueberries, nestled in the morning oatmeal.
While I write this, I’m listening to Kevin Volans’ “White Man Sleeps (second movement).” I saw a modern dance performed to the song a few years ago and just loved the dance and the song. I highly recommend you get yourself to Youtube and give “White Man Sleeps” a listen.
“Just dance, gonna be OK… just dance, spin that record babe… just dance.” — the ever fascinating Lady Gaga
I just love this photo, even though it’s not very good. The photo was too dark and took some lightening up. But I think I like it because of what it represents: the unfettered joy of youth. Every day is a celebration, an adventure. We adults should take cues from our children to pursue life as a journey of wonder.
The town I live in just opened a new dance studio. Right now they’re teaching solely ballet, but will expand to include hip hop, modern and jazz.
What struck me about the two women who just opened the dance studio is their passion for teaching anyone to dance.I’m half tempted to join an adult class to see if those ladies could work miracles on my two left feet. I did ballet for three years as a small child and greatly enjoyed it. I love watching professional dancers, in ballet or modern. Their bodies move in such beautiful ways.
“Making mistakes and learning to recover from them — these things apply through life,” one woman said. She spent her high school years at a boarding school in North Carolina dancing from sun up to sun down. She danced professionally for a time because injuring herself and becoming disillusioned by the professional dance world. She was giant in a world of tiny women.
“I was never taught that way. Nobody ever said it was just OK to dance.”