Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.
– Ray Bradbury
A few years ago I spent a week in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas. The drive up was pretty, forested and sunny. But not what I’d call breath-taking.
I got out for a run one morning, heading up the hill from the place I was staying and then veering from the road to a narrow rocky path hugging the hillside. After several minutes of pretty intense chugging, I turned a corner and found myself dumbstruck.
The valley stretched out before me, the focal point being a whitewatered river snaking down through the hills, the water racing around huge boulders all the way. The forest stretched for miles, and beyond that I could see the multi-colored brownness of the plains leading to Sacramento.
The view stunned me. In part, my reaction can be attributed to the sheer beauty of what I was looking at. But then there was also the element of surprise. My little brain was ready to process something pretty.
I had not prepared it for THAT.
I laughed. I grinned. Then I continued running.
At that time, I’d just started writing lines that might roughly be construed as poetry, although I remain reluctant to say I write poetry for fear of offending her. A few lines came out of that moment, and I can’t recall what they all said, but mostly they recounted what I just told you as if I were speaking directly to God. And the piece ended with something like:
Have you been holding out on me?
Now I’m wondering how many other moments
like this one
all over this beautiful rock.
The more I open myself to learning, the more I learn. And the more I learn, the more questions I have.
But every once in a while I pick up what might be called an answer to some cosmic question.
One such answer is that the more of those moments of surprising wonder I experience, the better off life tends to go for me.