Wondering about wonder

23 09 2013

In another of my near-falling-asleep reveries, I was thinking about the sense of wonder – whether wonder has been lost in modern times, or is now a rare experience.

I can’t help but think that wonder was more regularly experienced in a time when there was no internet, no computer graphics, no films, no photography… when personal experience was limited and therefore unusual things were to be marveled at.

Can you imagine the wonder experienced by:

  • ancient peoples looking up at the stars in the night sky
  • someone seeing (and hearing) an aurora for the first time
  • Carter as he first opened Tutankhamun’s tomb

Perhaps wonder requires a kind of naivety? Though I’m not convinced that’s the right word, or even the sentiment I’m looking for.

Perhaps wonder is predicated by an appreciation of the specialness of the world? Wonder isn’t reserved for the big things, but also the small things.

I also wonder if wonder is closely associated with terror?

Anyway, It seems I wonder about wonder quite a bit.

So my plan is to go out into the country, where there are no city lights, to wonder at the night sky … perhaps in summer though, when it’s warmer … yes, I wonder better when I’m warmer.



One response

23 09 2013

I don’t think wonder is just about experiencing a new phenomenon or adventure. I think wonder is about being open to to one’s environment. For example, it never ceases to amaze me, how the bark on trees is so textured and provides a source of pattern. Yesterday, walking through the children’s garden at The Botanical Garden, I was photographing the trunks of the Bottle trees (don’t know the Botanical name). The folds in the surface reminded me of animal hide – elephant, rhinoceros. I wonder at the peculiar diversity of bark. There were palm trees that had bulges incremented up the trunk, like rings, and the trunks were as straight as arrows. When I walk at the MCG park, I do the same. I have seen those Eucalyptus a hundred times over, yet every now and again I will photograph close ups of the trunks. I wonder, every time, at the beauty of the colour and texture. I never tire of looking at this particular type of beauty. Wonder, as you state, may be require a touch of naivety, maybe it comes from the child within, the part of our being that has never quite grown up.

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