We’re meant to live in wonder,
But hide, sometimes, in doubt:
The world is there for us to feel,
If not to figure out —
We face a new horizon
But briefly, through a frown,
Then miss the glories of the sky
Because we’re looking
I grew up in Florida, and for about five years in my twenties, I lived on the beach.
As it happened, living there coincided with the worst time of my life, healthwise. That apartment out on the beach lay empty for the many months, off and on, that I was in and out of the hospital.
When I did get out of the hospital, I was avoiding sunlight for health reasons, so sunbathing out by the Gulf of Mexico was not an option. I got all of my enjoyment of the beach by going out there at night. People who saw me would conclude from my general pallor that I never went outside, but I did — just not during the day.
If you’ve never been to the ocean at night you are really missing something. Many of the great wonders of the world are only visible at night — the stars, the northern or southern lights — but often people don’t think of nighttime as a time for natural beauty, spending more of it in human-centric (or urban) pursuits.
When I was nine years old, I asked for a small tent for Christmas, which I got. I promptly set it up in our backyard in Florida, taking a sleeping bag and my father’s binoculars out with me to look at the moon and the stars. I think my mother was worried we would be too cold (my brother was out there with his tent and sleeping bag, as well) but I remember being beyond excited.
And I was beyond excited. Just to look at a clear night sky.
One of the dangers of aging is losing wonder, to get so wrapped up in the worries of the day that we miss the glories around us. We are meant to live in wonder, I think. It is still as accessible as it ever was.
We just have to remember.