I’m no arborist, but the small amount I know about trees still manages to dazzle me. I mean, they start as a twig sticking out of the ground easily destroyed by a wandering lawnmower, and transform into a pillar that will outlive me to weather storms and drought and lovers carving their heart-framed initials into their skin. Even greater than that, they basically live to balance my existence, soaking up the sun and making oxygen out of my refuse. Plus, they dress for the seasons, and always seem to look good.
2. The Human Body
It blows my mind how simultaneously resilient and fragile the human body is. A cut can be sewn back together with some blue surgical thread, and in enough time, the skin will show a mere trace of the experience and return to normal functionality; the same organism can be slain by a half cup of water to the lungs. The body is so complex and astounding. Nerves! Muscles! Brain tissue! Plasma cells! Just think – it’s a wonder of the world we get to walk around in every day.
Although I have lived through the gradual progression from monochrome adventures on the Oregon Trail to defeating the Babylonians in Age of Empires, to Angelfire.com and chatrooms, to Facebook, Skype calls and Flash animation, I am still utterly mystified by computers. I mean, have you seen a motherboard before? It’s a piece of plastic covered in green finger-paint with tiny metal knobs on it, and you’re telling me THAT’S the brains of this operation? THAT is where my 10,000 digital photos from 2004-to-present are hanging out? How is that possible? I could make an identical looking thing from the craft supplies I have on hand, but I don’t know how I’d fit even one photo into a little metal knob.
4. Radio Waves
Okay, so radio waves occur naturally and artificially. The natural kind have been around since the beginning of time, no big deal. But radio stations and satellites and MRIs just whip them up to transmit information via… the air? Yeah I don’t quite get that. But anyways the mind-blowing fact here is that radio waves like the ones that carry your local easy listening music are just perpetually hanging out in the air around us, while we carry on unawares. And then a tiny mess of plastic and metal and maybe a coat hanger strung together just right sucks the radio waves out of the air and into a wire and through a speaker and then I can hear Macklemore and get my groove on, enamoured by the sounds of a hip-hop beat.
Our lives are full of noise. Right now there’s a little beat being tapped out on my keyboard, the furnace is humming and it means absolutely nothing to me. In truth these mundane things are very similar to a hand or a stick hitting a piece of hide stretched over a shell, which we call a drum, or a little piece of teardrop-shaped plastic flicking some bits of wire stretched across a hollow wooden thing known as a guitar… but somehow, while the majority of everyday noises hardly enter my brain, the right noises strung together in the right rhythm, like Pachebel’s Canon or Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’, can stop me in my tracks and bring a tear to my eye.
6. Sunrises And Sunsets
When it comes to commonplace regular occurrences in the natural world, sunrises and sunsets are as predictable as it comes. There has not yet been a day where the sun does not rise or set (though, to be fair, there are days the we don’t see it). Naturally speaking, you could even call them mundane. And yet, there are sunsets and (considerably fewer) sunrises that were so unique and breathtaking they are painted on the canvas of my memory, never to be forgotten.
Conversation is this unfathomable thing that gives utterance to what is in my brain and spews it out into reality, where it meets the ideas and feelings that formed inside your brain that you have carved into words and sounds that enter the air between us and we begin to understand each other. I marvel at it! Sure, ninety-something percent of communication is non-verbal, but we’d still be lost if we didn’t talk to one another. Don’t think this is a legitimate ‘wonder’ of everyday life? Just see what happens when you stop talking to your wife for a week.
What incites wonder in your everyday life?
Cover photo by Drew Graham