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Here you go, Suz. Thanks for the encouragement.

Oririnally posted at " thenatureschool.wordpress.com

I think we live in a jaded world. Perhaps this makes me a jaded person. Perhaps this is not news to people who are reading this blog. Perhaps you are the sort of person who lives in a state of wonder and you think I am smoking my socks. If you are in the latter group, share your ideas of wonder in the comments. If you are in the first group, read on because I share some things I use to recapture that Sense of Wonder that makes life a little more, well, wonderful.

First, to give credit where it is due, many of the ideas I carry about what "A Sense of Wonder" is come from Rachel Carson, biologist and author of Silent Spring and Edge of the Sea among others. In a wonderful little book titled "A Sense of Wonder" Carson shares her exploration of nature with her grandson. The key element of the book is simplicity. Children are delighted by the smallest things. They don't need to know a fancy biological name. They don't need to know something's niche in the natural world. They don't need to know its use to ourselves or others. Children are delighted by the new. Children are delighted by the familiar. One is the surprise, the other the old friend and children love both. In "A Sense of Wonder" we follow Rachel and her grandson through the Maine woods near her home and watch him name the things he finds there according to his whimsy. We splash with him through the tide pools left by the retreating sea and learn his names for the things he finds there. In doing so we come away feeling delighted at the wonder he sees.

Maintaining wonder (or reinvigorating it) is a simple but slow process. I think we want everything to happen fast, but that is another post. To start the process, find someplace near at hand to explore, your yard, neighborhood, or local park will do. Leave the id books at home. Take blank paper and a pencil. Go exploring. Indulge in the following behaviors:

* Let go of the need to understand.
* Let go of the need to categorize.
* Let go of the need to explain.
* Look up.
* Look down.
* Look under things.
* Be still and watch.
* Be still and listen.
* Touch stuff.
* Smell stuff.
* Close your eyes.
* Open your eyes.
* Name stuff according to what it looks like there and then rather than the way the scientists do.
* Use your pencil to poke at things and lift them up.
* Use your blank piece of paper to highlight interesting things by using it as a study mat.
* Use your blank paper and pencil to draw what you see, in words or pictures, as a child does, without editor to limit your image.
* Smile.
* Laugh.
* Play.

For some of us adults, who have forgotten how to play, it is helpful to have a small child with us. Children will see many new things we will take for granted. The child is a magic ticket to remembering what it is to be a child. If you don't have a child handy go exploring anyway.

Then, I'd love it to know:

* What do you find wonderful?

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Comment by Suz Lipman on February 26, 2010 at 11:19am
Thank you for posting this, b. It's so beautiful and full of great reminders for adults about rekindling our own senses of wonder along with those of the children in our care. Wonder resides in the smallest, simplest things, doesn't it? I can really be someone with my nose in a field guide and I've learned that there is a time and place for that, that I can just as well let the observation and experience happen, and then figure out what I saw. (Most recent wondrous sighting: a giant spider web glistening with raindrops and woven between two trees.)

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