My OLW for 2020 is “astonish.” I’ve been trying to pay attention and write something down every day that astonishes me, like Mary Oliver suggests, in a log I call “daily snippets.” Sometimes it’s easy, like the other day when I watched a praying mantis climbing up the side of the shed, or yesterday when I copied a line from Jane Yolen into my notebook, one where she describes a poem as “the pause between heartbeats.” (Sigh!) But sometimes it’s a little harder, especially now that I’m spending less time out in the world.
The easiest times, it seems, are when I’m able to visit with my grandchildren, since everything they do astonishes me. In person or virtual, it doesn’t matter. Just the other day we watched as Nina fed herself for the first time. We cheered as she carefully picked up bits of food and found her mouth, occasionally not quite hitting the mark on her first attempt. We marveled at her joy of accomplishment, the amount of food that covered her face and encrusted her peach-fuzz hair. And it didn’t matter that this is a scene played out in thousands of homes every day. It was astonishing.
There are lots of things in nature that Alex is experiencing for the first time – a buzzing bee, a waxing and waning moon, a special flower that’s really a common weed. He will easily explain now that the bees are happy and we should just let them be, and that airplanes are loud because of the engines. Learning about the wonders of the world is astonishing.
And if I really think about it, I don’t have to venture far from home to be astonished.