July 25, 2021: Seeking Magic
Our daily walk, exploring the natural world surrounding us, never fails to bring new discoveries. The blooming of a wildflower we’ve never seen before, the song of a American Redstart serenading us along our meander, the flash of hummingbird wings, and even the raucous call of a raven. Each one of these is a daily reminder of how precious life is, filling our hearts with a sense of wonder and awe at both the fragility and tenacity of living things.
Yesterday, we took a walk with our granddaughters on one of the trails, stopping when someone spotted something beautiful, curious or interesting. As we were looking at an unusual wildflower, an ATV roared past us, splattering dirt and shattering the peaceful atmosphere. The riders waved and flew past us. In the wisdom of the young, my granddaughter asked, “how can they see anything when they go so fast?”
Upon reflection, I was reminded of a quote by the author Roald Dahl about magic: “Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”.
The definition of magic is “The power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces”. https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/magic.
While the blooming of a wildflower doesn’t require a spell or wand, it does seem almost magical in the way it emerges from the dark earth, grows, blossoms, creates seeds, then returns once again to the soil.
While the riders of the ATV were clearly having a great time, I could only think of how much they were missing by racing roughshod and noisily through the trails. In their rush to fly over the landscape, they missed opportunities to discover and feel firsthand the connections of natural life around them. It led to further reflection asking the question, “How often do we rush through our days, juggling endless to-do lists, getting sidetracked with unproductive distractions, ultimately missing out on moments that potentially could fill us with joy or wonder?”
Opening our eyes, ears and hearts to the “magic” that surrounds us can be transformative. Stepping back from technology and the cacophony of modern society has its benefits. Research has shown that people who spend two plus hours a week in green/natural spaces reported more good health and psychological well-being than others who didn’t. The key seemed to be 2 hours. Less had no discernible differences. Think about it; a week consists of 168 hours…..two hours is a small commitment to rediscover the wonder of nature and the presence of joy in our lives. Whether it’s with binoculars, a garden hoe, hiking boots or a simple walk in our neighborhood, we can rekindle the sense of awe, appreciation and gratitude in our lives. https://e360.yale.edu/features/ecopsychology-how-immersion-in-nature-benefits-your-health
Once while taking a group of children out on a nature trail, one of my students told me, “The more I look, the more I see….the more I see, the more I want to look….it’s like magic!” If we don’t make time to both celebrate and witness the joys and wonders of life, we will miss them and the magic that permeates our world.
Thank you as always for reading our blog. We welcome your thoughts and invite you to share it with someone who might find it meaningful. In the meantime, here are some quotes that inspire us to invite the magic into our lives.
Best regards, Wendy Oellers-Fulmer
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.Albert Einstein
In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.Aristotle
The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.Albert Einstein
Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man’s desire to understand.Neil Armstrong
What is sacred is what is worthy of our reverence, what evokes awe and wonder in the human heart, and what, when contemplated, transforms us utterly.Phil Cousineau
If I had influence with the good fairy… I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life.Rachel Carson
Joy in looking and comprehending is nature’s most beautiful gift.Albert Einstein
There’s no way we can possibly understand anything. But we can see things, we can perceive things, and we can wonder. We can just be in a world of awe and wonder. That’s the best we can do.Frederick Lens
To science, not even the bark of a tree or a drop of pond water is dull or a handful of dirt banal. They all arouse awe and wonder.Jane Jacobs
To early man, trees were objects of awe and wonder. The mystery of their growth, the movement of their leaves and branches, the way they seemed to die and come again to life in spring, the sudden growth of the plant from the seed – all these appeared to be miracles as indeed they still are, miracles of nature!Ruskin Bond
July 25, 2021
Good one, Wendy. I’ve never understood the thrill of zooming down a trail and missing all the wonders, great and small, that you pass by at great speed.
July 25, 2021
Thanks again for both reading and responding to this blog. Seeing the atvs (more than one as it’s popular in our area) roar past, makes me wonder “why”. There is so much beauty to see here, why race through it? We feel the same way as we pick up cans and trash along the way. People come to beautiful areas because of its appeal, and then don’t respect it. Can’t understand that either. Hoping my photographs and writing will help to build awareness of how precious our natural world is and how we should both honor and protect it.