Wonders Ramble

One hope of mine, when I started this blog, was that regularly writing about wonders would force me to seek out new material week by week. Hopefully, I thought, this practice will make me pay more attention.

And it has – so much, in fact, that I sometimes find myself at a loss for which wonder to write about on a given occasion.

Milkmaids – among the first wildflowers of spring.

February has been unexpectedly crazy at work, so I’ve spent much of my down-time resting and recuperating instead of writing. Some of that resting has involved hiking with Andrew and visiting Vegas – both incredibly nurturing activities for this particular writer. But even rest has been tinged with a full-body tension from letting work stress get me out of balance with my self-care.

Practicing wonder is, as always, a blessing. I’m grateful I’ve cultivated the habit, and grateful to my readers for encouraging me.

Knowing I’d missed blogging two weeks in a row (the first because I was busy with things like taxes and romance; the second because I was helping my niece clean her room, thus foiling her mother’s dastardly plans to ceaselessly nag her about cleaning her room), I wanted to be sure to offer something. But frankly, this week I’m too tired to delve deeply into any one topic.

So I hit upon the idea of sharing a series of wonders I’ve noticed recently, without doing any kind of deep-dive.

Wonders, for example, like the pink-and-white tire shop I pass every day on my commute. The windows are painted in garish letters about current 4-for-3 deals and other such things you’d see at any locally-owned auto-parts shop. The sign above the door is direct and to-the-point, the shop’s name spelled in bold, red, neon block letters – no muss, no fuss. It’s a tire shop, plain and simple.

Only it isn’t plain or simple. The pink-and-white building itself is clearly some sort of historical relic. Imagine if a wedding cake from the 1980s, with all its lacey intricate cameos and beadwork and drapery, was transformed into a delicate pink building. The facade is all scallops and reliefs, recalling a Greek temple or a gingerbread house or a small-town baroque library. The juxtaposition between brassy practicality and artistic frivolity is endlessly delightful. I hope that business thrives for years to come, and I hope they never change their building – never ever.

Wonders like milkmaids and other early spring flowers – buds just appearing along naked branches, valiant shoots rising fat and glossy through the soil, cheerful little blossoms opening their faces to the warming sun. Milkmaids are native to the west coast of North America and are related to mustard and cabbage and kale. They close their blooms at night and before rainstorms. Their little white petals are striking against the evergreen coastal Californian forest floor.

Wonders like walking five miles with Andrew through a forest so lush it seems enchanted, only to emerge at a secluded beach populated with ravens rather than seagulls. Wonders like chatting the whole way there and back, a ten-mile round trip, and emerging with a better understanding (on both sides!) of the other’s particular political viewpoints. In this political climate, no less!

Like discovering that the Girl Scouts now make and sell a delicious gluten-free cookie.

Attending an unexpected craft night with like-minded women, and spending the evening laughing hysterically about esoteric nonsense and bitter life experiences.

Bonding with an airport police officer because you both self-identify as Ravenclaws.

Listening to your niece and nephew, upstairs with their toys, singing an eerie duet of the songs from Frozen II, their young unrefined voices blending perfectly and modulating with strange, grave maturity. Remembering doing the same when you were their age.

Watching your loved ones succeed. My sister is currently working on a delightful podcast called The Fairy Tellers with one of her friends and it’s an absolute gem. There’s a blog attached as well (shameless plug) and an Instagram. Certainly worth checking out. And Andrew’s been working on some in-depth programming passion projects within one of his video gaming communities, and while the process is driving him a smidge bonkers (like any creative endeavor!), it’s wonderful to see him getting the recognition he deserves for his hard work and craftsmanship.

Jumping in puddles. Letting the children jump into puddles, and promising them hot chocolate when they start to shiver. Cuddling them, and being amazed when they ask you to tell them The Hobbit from scratch, and being amazed again when they sit through the entire telling (omitting the episode with the spiders and the Battle of the Five Armies, of course). Listening in surprise as they argue in favor of sparing Smaug’s life, so passionately and so eloquently, that at last you acquiesce and let the dragon flee having learned the error of his ways. Trying to figure out how to warn them that if they hear The Hobbit from another source, some of the details may be very different.

Life is delightful and whimsical and full of wonders. Cherish every one.

What are some of your favorite recent moments? Tell us all about it in the comments below!

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Happy witnessing!

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