Newness for a New Year

Monday, March 3, 2008

Puddles and Racing Sticks

The hole in the pavement nudged the curb and quickly filled with water on rainy days. It was right in front of our yellowish house when I was younger. I remember mixing all kinds of soups and stews in that shallow concrete pot. It never bored me to create something from rocks and twigs, and now those memories of wet days always bring a smile to my face. I am sure you have similar experiences and places where you let your imagination freely saturate your young days.

I was reminded of such moments as I spent the afternoon with my nephew Hyrum. He is almost 3 years old and exploding with energy and curiosity. We decided to head outside before the weather turned really cold on Saturday. We explored the back of my parents' home and the length of the stream that runs along the back of their property. We stood at the fence on the street and watched the water run out to the west. I immediately wanted to show him how to race sticks in a stream. Even though I am 27 years old, I don't think I will ever tire of racing sticks under a bridge (or road). Hyrum caught on fast. He would break off parts of the stick and put them down the sewer drain, which was much closer to the fast current than the other side of the street. We did it again and again--neither of us ever tiring of tossing the stick and then hurrying to see it float away.

I am grateful for those moments of wonder, when you suddenly remember how great it feels to watch stick races and feel the coolness of March blow against your pink nose. I loved experiencing it with Hyrum, as if it were a new experience for us both.

Rachel Carson wrote a wonderful book called The Sense of Wonder. I highly recommend it. She talks about how we need to keep and nourish our sense of wonder throughout our lives.

She writes,

"What is the value of preserving and strengthening this sense of awe and wonder, this recognition of something beyond the boundaries of human existence? Is the exploration of the natural world just a pleasant way to pass the golden hours of childhood or is there something deeper?

I am sure there is something much deeper, something lasting and significant. Those who dwell, as scientists or laymen, among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life. Whatever the vexations or concerns of their personal lives, their thoughts can find paths that lead to inner contentment and to renewed excitement in living. Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of the birds, the ebb and flow of the tides, the folded bud ready for spring. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature--the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Beautiful sentiments. I had a similar thought (although much less eloquent and more amorphous) a few weeks ago when I was out walking. There is such a healing and comfort in Nature--especially when people have let you down or you feel utterly alone--it is a source of hope I am so grateful for.