Wonder is the beginning of wisdom. -Socrates
I have been searching the academic literature for articles on wonder, but there's not a lot there. Not too concerned with that emotion, those academics, at least as far as I could find out. Me, I'm getting more and more interested in it and unlike my usual fleeting obsessions, this one doesn't seem to be going away. I have a whole section on it in my quote book, so you know it's serious. It's an odd thing isn't it? Like curiosity and joy and awe and whatever the opposite of hubris is, all wrapped up into one. Little kids almost live by it, adults often seem to think it a bit naive? I don't think it naive. I may even think it's the point of it all. Or at least, to copy Socrates (it's an excellent defense against smarter people - you might be right, but Socrates agrees with me) the beginning of the point of it all. Or at least, at least, slightly important.
What I haven't got a clue about is what to do with it.
My great-nephew has arrived safely into the world. I was thirteen when I first became an Aunt, and I am delighted to find myself as excited now as I was then. He's so beautiful! I said to my children, you have to call me Great now, and they said no. We don't. You're not our Great Aunt.
This poem, called "What We Knew", is dedicated to young J., and his grandma K. Much love.
At times we feel the need to go back
to plain things. To stones, earth,
grass, wind. To things we have known
a long time, to what we knew
when what filled the hours was dirt
and a few sticks, a pile of leaves
or some thin, white bones
from a long-dead bird.
The huge rock near the creek
was not too hard to lie on then
and the sun on bare skin felt warm.
We did not feel the press of time
as we do now. The world seemed firm
and real, and life was slow, and long, and good.
- Carolyn Elkins