A Sense of Wonder

 

Whether you are Christian or not, Christmas is a good time for renewal of innocence and wonder. The common sights of people excitedly opening gifts, decorating homes and public streets in lights, retelling stories of miracles and merriment — such experiences can rekindle in us a joyful pursuit of the good and the beautiful.

As I washed my hands this morning with soap foam, I glanced at the prismatic bubbles on my skin and recalled the joy in the eyes of young nephews and nieces as they play with bubbles. Sometimes they prefer to make the bubbles themselves. Other times, they hand me the wand and chase the bubbles to catch and pop.

The key to attractive photography, I find, is to seek that childlike sense of wonder. It is easier to recall when faced with grandeur. But there is so much in little things we forget to notice.

A preferred pastime of mine is to explore the virtual worlds of video games and admire the fruits of imagination unshackled by the constraints of reality. Architecture is divorced from economics, gravity, and material limitations. Movement is not slowed by stamina or risk of injury. Dangers may be dared and every option explored, knowing that any failure will be erased by the reset of time. Like films and paintings, games let us see the dreams which novels describe.

I would love to travel more (and could make a priority of it). Landscapes and architecture are the chief objects of my attention while traveling. But the costs of money and time are often prohibitive, so I settle for enjoying scenes real and not as presented on a screen. Sometimes it doesn’t feel so much like settling.

What are the experiences that refresh your appreciation of the world’s better qualities? To what do you turn for inspiration or relief?

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  1. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    I love the silence I experience during my morning walks. Few people are outside, and this time of year, there are very few cars. The silence is broken only by chattering squirrels, an excited Kingfisher, and sandhill cranes that call out as they fly by. Silence is one of my favorite companions, soothing and calming me, and I never tire of it.

    Thanks, Aaron, for your lovely words and stunning photos.

    • #1
  2. HankRhody Freelance Philosopher Contributor
    HankRhody Freelance Philosopher
    @HankRhody

    Aaron Miller: To what do you turn for inspiration or relief?

    In many ways I’m a simple man.

    • #2
  3. MiMac Thatcher
    MiMac
    @MiMac

    John Senior wrote that secular society “crushed” the wonder out of young people. He was famous for the Integrated Humanities Program at U of Kansas, were he tried to reintroduce the idea of wonder- so many of his pupils became religious that it caused a stir. 

    • #3
  4. Cat III, Pussy Superstar Member
    Cat III, Pussy Superstar
    @CatIII

    Recently wrote a novella (currently polishing it before submitting to publishers) and the premise, at least for the first third or so, is following a person who’s experiencing everything for the first time. I had a lot of fun thinking about how things like seeing dust descending through a beam of light would be fascinating to someone who had never seen it before. A lot of writing well comes down to describing ordinary things so the reader joys in seeing it in a new light, as if with the eyes of a newborn.

    Aaron Miller: A preferred passtime of mine is to explore the virtual worlds of video games and admire the fruits of imagination unshackled by the constraints of reality.

    The wait for Metroid Prime 4 is killing me. That series offers up environments so grand, so beautiful. I still remember gawping when I first traveled to Sanctuary Fortress in MP2:

    Or the antique fantasy sci-fi of MP3’s Skytown:

    • #4
  5. Allie Hahn Coolidge
    Allie Hahn
    @AllieHahn

    One thing that really brings me joy is talking to Jesus, especially out loud. There’s just something special about praying out loud. I was recently introduced to the idea of praying through a Psalm: basically, reading the first verse and praying based on what comes to your mind/heart from that verse, and then moving on to verse 2. It’s so fun and amazing, and I love it. 😃

    • #5
  6. Allie Hahn Coolidge
    Allie Hahn
    @AllieHahn

    MiMac (View Comment):

    John Senior wrote that secular society “crushed” the wonder out of young people. He was famous for the Integrated Humanities Program at U of Kansas, were he tried to reintroduce the idea of wonder- so many of his pupils became religious that it caused a stir.

    That’s very interesting. I’d love to read more about this. 

    • #6
  7. Joan of Ark La Tex Member
    Joan of Ark La Tex
    @JoALT

    Last night, I took my children and went outside to look up the sky. Beautiful Christmas Star in the Darkest Winter Solstice Night. And the Lord whispered to my soul ” So we do not lose heart. ” 2 Corinth. 4:16. He has never failed to answer my prayer. God’s love in any shape or form is my inspiration. Thank you for such a heartwarming post. Merry Christmas.

     

    • #7
  8. Allie Hahn Coolidge
    Allie Hahn
    @AllieHahn

    Joan of Ark La Tex (View Comment):

    Last night, I took my children and went outside to look up the sky. Beautiful Christmas Star in the Darkest Winter Solstice Night. And the Lord whispered to my soul ” So we do not lose heart. ” 2 Corinth. 4:16. He has never failed to answer my prayer. God’s love in any shape or form is my inspiration. Thank you for such a heartwarming post. Merry Christmas.

     

    I love this. Moments like this are so special. God is so good!

    • #8
  9. MiMac Thatcher
    MiMac
    @MiMac

    Allie Hahn (View Comment):

    MiMac (View Comment):

    John Senior wrote that secular society “crushed” the wonder out of young people. He was famous for the Integrated Humanities Program at U of Kansas, were he tried to reintroduce the idea of wonder- so many of his pupils became religious that it caused a stir.

    That’s very interesting. I’d love to read more about this.

    He wrote two  books on the subject  (The Restoration of Christian Culture, The Death of Christian Culture) and there is a well received book on his life/work- John Senior and the Restoration of Realism by one of his students.

    • #9
  10. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Happiness is a warm, purring kitty.

    • #10
  11. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    My current virtual travels take me England circa the Norman invasion (from the game Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla).

    • #11
  12. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    My current virtual travels take me England circa the Norman invasion (from the game Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla).

    I have to get a new computer. I don’t have time for much video gaming, but still.

    • #12