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A sense of wonder

May 15, 2011

This weekend I spent some time browsing other blog posts and came across one by Jacinta for her blog bawkbawkbawk that made me stop and dwell for a minute.

She has many beautiful photographs of a trip to Cinque Terre in Italy (all  photos in this post are hers!), and it made me nostalgic for a trip I took there several years ago. Soon after the memories of my trip started coming back to me I was consumed with wanderlust.

I started thinking about what makes traveling so alluring and realized that it is conducive to a sense of wonder and curiosity, something we seem to be losing in our everyday lives.

When traveling somewhere new, either close by home or far away, I use all of my senses to experience the environment around me. It makes everything so much more exciting and beautiful. And I know that I spend much more time just absorbing and looking, exploring, smelling, and being in that new space.

The way I experience place is childlike, and I think this is one of the best ways to go through life. When I stop to notice the small things, the beautiful things, the environment, it becomes almost inevitable that I form a connection. And that connection is something that stays with me, makes me happy, gives me purpose, and forms memories.

I’ve been thinking about this idea of wonder at the natural world all weekend. Then, this morning I came across another truly excellent blog post that articulates my thoughts beautifully. The post is by Julian Hoffman, a writer that lives by the Prespa Lakes in Northern Greece and his recent post is The Wonder of Ordinary Places. Here are several of my favorite excerpts (I highly encourage you to read the whole piece and to check out some of Julian’s photography of Northern Greece here):

As childhood is left behind, adults tend to shed that capacity for curiosity, that spirit that animates the smallest of things. We yearn for greater and faster excitements; we seek larger vistas, grander views. But in a contemporary Western world increasingly obsessed by speed, style and seduction, there is perhaps all the more need to reclaim the ordinary, to celebrate the everyday. Because the ordinary, when perceived in the spirit of curiosity, is actually extraordinary.

All landscapes contain the seeds of astonishment. Whether we let them take root or not is up to us. But if we become aware of the wonders within easy reach, those close at hand and part of our daily experience, then the everyday places that we live amongst become less easy to dismiss. The greatest threat facing many landscapes is their assumed irrelevance. When a place is perceived to hold little of interest or importance then a whole landscape can turn invisible, and be treated accordingly. Though any child will show you there is no such thing as a place without interest.

And when a landscape is no longer invisible but revealed for what it truly is, then that landscape stands a chance of connecting with our lives. If that happens, we are less likely to let it disappear.

I think this last point is key to developing a community that understands the importance of nature. We must first truly look at our environments, connect with them, find the extraordinary. Only then will we be able to move forward and begin caring for the everyday places in our lives.

all photos by Jacinta via bawkbawkbawk (thank you for bringing back incredible memories through your photographs).

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 16, 2011 8:42 am

    Hello –

    I spent much time in Europe in the 1990s, living in Slovenija and Croatia. Greece was on my to-do list but I never made it there. I’ve been in 20+ countries and today looking at your wonderful photos, I’m saddened I never went. It’s on my to-do list again ;). Thank you and happy Monday to you. 🙂

    • Liza permalink*
      May 16, 2011 9:57 am

      Thank you! Just to clarify, the photos in this post are by Jacinta and are of Cinque Terre in Italy. The writer that I quote, Julian Hoffman, has some fantastic photos of Northern Greece as well so be sure to check out his post! I would love to go to either place right now, though Greece is definitely the top of my list.

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