What do you think of when you hear someone say “the wonders of life?”
My Aunt Lois always proclaimed, with outstretched arms, “Oh the wonder of it all!”
What did she mean, I thought, at the ripe old age of ten?
The Seven Wonders of the World? Truthfully, I don’t even know what they are. The Great Pyramid? Hanging Gardens of Babylon? How am I doing? There are five more, and I learned them in school, but they no longer exist in my memory bank.
How about the Seven Wonders of the Natural World? The Grand Canyon . . . The Great Barrier Reef . . . and I’m stuck on two, once again. Evidently, I wasn’t paying attention that day in the 5th grade.
So, here’s the thing: I haven’t seen any of them, ancient or natural, even the Grand Canyon, and I’ve visited thirty states, and yet I feel like I’ve seen thousands of life’s wonders, and I’m going to see thousands more . . . hell, millions . . . once my wife and I start pulling our travel trailer around the countryside and begin our RV life.
Which begs the question: what do I consider the wonders of life to be? And you?
One of the lessons I always taught in middle school science . . . I took the kids outside, gave them each a little 5’x5’ plot of land, gave them a magnifying glass, and told them to list the amazing, wonderful things they saw on their plot of land. Some of the kids would clue in immediately, and their lists would include bugs and tiny leaves and colorful rocks; others would need the second part of the lesson, which was to look at some of that “meaningless dirt” under a microscope. It was at that time that they saw the millions of tiny microbes, living things where there appeared to be nothing, and it was always a joyous moment when they came to the realization that we are surrounded by the wonders of life.
Traveling the Oregon Trail
I’m a history nerd. I admit it and I take some strange pride in it.
One of the things I always wanted to do was travel the Oregon Trail, by car and by foot, and my son and I did that about twenty years ago. There are places along the Trail where you can still stand in the wagon ruts made back in the 1850’s, and standing in those ruts I was filled with awe, my feet standing where my ancestors’ feet were 170 years prior.
Climbing Mt. Rainier
The first day of the climb takes you to the 10,000-foot level. The second day finds you rising at one a.m., climbing the last four-thousand feet, and summitting just about the same time the sun rises in the east, an unobstructed view of it all, in all directions, the shades of color, the clouds beneath your feet, the absolute majestic flood of emotions as one realizes the sheer enormity of this world we call Earth.
Walking with my dogs
And I feel that same enormity, that same wonder of the miniscule, when I walk my two dogs daily. Those two canines absolutely love life. Their world is filled with smells, with sights, with sounds, playful curiosity which is infectious. And underlying it all, for them, is their unconditional love for me, and if love doesn’t belong on a list of life’s wonders, I don’t know what does.
Final thoughts about the wonders of life and the wonder of it all
If you think I’m a sentimental fool, you should spend some time with my wife. Bev takes my wonder of life and magnifies it ten-fold. She has never seen a leaf she does not want to touch. She has never seen a trail she does not want to walk down. She has never witnessed an animal she does not want to cuddle. And that kind of unbridled awe wears off on me so that now, at the age of seventy-three, I can hardly wait for Bev and I to begin our part-time RV life, taking short trips in our travel trailer, and with each RV trip improving our quality of life.
The wonders of life, my friends, are here, there, and everywhere, to quote the Beatles, and I hope you get the chance to witness them, for yourself, someday soon.
One last note worth mentioning
Bev just told me this past weekend that she wants to hike The Wonderland Trail in August. It’s a 93-mile stroll around Mt. Rainier, it takes about nine days to do, and it has an elevation gain/loss of 22,000 feet. I did it about fifty years ago, and it is magnificent.
Sixty-one years young, she is, and she is bursting at the seams with excitement over the wonders she will witness on that hike, and I’m excited watching her be excited. Stay tuned! We’ve just begun.
Catch you down the Road of Life!