Even transplants to Minnesota, largely free of such constraints, hesitate to rave about the amazing natural assets they find here because no one else in the country would believe that a place they see as somewhere between wild west and arctic tundra could possibly offer anything more exotic than the characters in Fargo.
TURNABOUT IS FAIR PLAY
I must admit, with my own German-American heritage, to being afflicted with a bit of that uniquely Minnesotan modesty. But another factor in my not extolling the wonders of my own state is that universal human fault of failing to appreciate those things most familiar to us. This is one reason, I suppose, why I crave adventures in other countries, especially those where animals, plants and landscapes are very different from those I've come to take for granted here at home.
So I realized it might help me, and those of you who may also have grown apathetic to all the beauty you live with every day, to try seeing it as if it were for the first time. It helps if I imagine some of my friends from around the world coming here, and what I would want to show them. For, just as I have stood wonder-struck before the natural “exotica” of their Baja California, their Kenya, their Veracruz, Andalucía or Costa Rica, I know they would see my world in the same way I see theirs.
If you make room for wonder in your heart, you may find yourself awestruck by a speck of dust.
SEARCHING BEHIND YOUR EYES
In three and a half years writing this blog, and another six or seven writing of my experiences with small wonders (work I'd later distill for my first book, Under the Wild Ginger – A Simple Guide to the Wisdom of Wonder, I've learned a few things about how people see—or don't see—the world around them.
One of those lessons is that wonder is as much a place in the heart and spirit as it is any specific object or event. You don't have to go to some faraway place to find it. It starts within you, right where you are. And if you make room for it among the clutter you may find yourself awestruck by a speck of dust.
Believe that all of Creation, far and near, beyond you and within you, is a lovingly beautiful place.
So keep your eyes—and your spirit—open. Indulge the curiosity of a five-year-old that still resides in you. Try to see even the simplest and most familiar of Nature's gifts as if you were seeing them for the first time. And, above all, believe that all of Creation, far and near, beyond you and within you, is a lovingly beautiful place. Expect wonder.
What are some of the workaday wonders you catch yourself taking for granted? Here are some from my everyday world here in Minnesota, USA.
|Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness|
|Long-ear sunfish - PHOTO: Brandon Brown|
|Sugar maples ablaze – Autumn in Minneapolis|
|Snow on crab apple tree|
|Moose – Superior National Forest|
|Split Rock Lighthouse, Lake Superior - PHOTO: Brynn|
|Agate – PHOTO: Lech Darski|
|State flower – pink and white lady slipper|
|Painted bunting – PHOTO: Doug Janson|
|Surfing Lake Superior|