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Crystal Witnesses Wonders begins with a dream.

In this dream, I spend my days driving around the United States (starting small, see), stopping at tourist trap after tourist trap, the weirder the better, and writing essays about each taxidermied jackalope, each gigantic ball of twine, each museum devoted entirely to mustard, reveling day after day in the hyperreal cabinet-of-curiosities world around us.

I thought at first that this would make a great book. So—someday, when I had the time and flexibility for my magical wonder-filled road trip, this dream could become a reality.

But then I realized that there’s no reason it has to be a book. In fact, the dream makes a great blog idea. Slower burn, lower stakes. And then I realized that there’s no reason it has to be only about the tourist traps you find on a road trip—not yet, anyway. After all, my memory is full of wonders already. And when I stop to pay attention, there are wonders everywhere around me in the present. The world truly is one gigantic cabinet of curiosities.

And so Crystal Witnesses Wonders was born.

I see this blog as a way of sharing optimism, wonder, curiosity, delight, and open-heartedness. I’ve spent a fair bit of my life being called naïve and simplistic for my approach to the world. On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve also had some of my fascinations misunderstood and derided as privileged “slumming it”—this was a particularly common criticism during my graduate school years. I’ll admit that I’ve spent a lot of time in defensiveness and resentment over this. I still do.

But it’s just that defensiveness and resentment that’s brought me here. Surely I’m not the only person thinking the world is full of sparkling synchronicity? Surely I’m not alone in witnessing unexpected moments of transcendental grace? Surely someone else has walked down the As-Seen-On-TV aisles of the pharmacy and marveled at the strange evidence of human ingenuity at work?

I’m here, then, to call on other Witnesses. I know you’re there. I’m here to share the wonders I have found, and, I hope, to hear about other wonders. I’m here to declare that it isn’t naïveté to see grace out in the wild world. It isn’t simplistic to find your arms thrown open at the sight of a double rainbow. It isn’t condescending, haughty, or superior to walk laughing through a world full of curiosities—to celebrate the eccentric, admire the abnormal, embrace the bizarre. 

No—not simplistic and not superior. To witness wonders is to walk into the otherworldly world and know that you are a part of it, and it a part of you. To know it is to better know yourself.

I want to contribute something fresh and beautiful and meditative and weird to the online world that isn’t about criticism, isn’t about bitterness, and isn’t about angst. It’s about connecting people through the things about us that are bizarre and just decidedly human.

Crystal Witnesses Wonders is a blog of short, focused-unfocused essays celebrating the simple wonders in the world, and exploring the phenomenon of wonder within the human being. There will definitely be a travel element for many missives, but the bulk of the writings will be about simple things you could easily encounter just existing – rainbows, moments of caring in the parking lot, some hilarious synchronicity.

If you want more wonder in your life, more room for curiosity, more room for the surreally normal and for the quietly abnormal—please read on, subscribe, and share. My goal is to post new content every Saturday (sometimes Sunday).

Thanks for reading!