‘When you go out into your world tomorrow, choose a piece of it to really look at. …There will be nowhere out there in the universe that is the same’. Brian Cox. Wonders of life.
This one is ode to kids and like minded adults who pick up sticks.
Yesterday I watched as a grandfather came into a cafe with his two grandchildren, one who carried a stick. Not just any stick mind you, but the longest stick you’ve ever seen.
The boy was perched atop his grandfathers shoulders, a mighty king armed with sword that was, rather hilariously (erhm, I mean ferociously) thwacking people as they passed. No one seemed to mind though, many in fact giggled (erhm, I mean cowered in the shadow of this great king!).
As they passed me I wondered what the child, as much as every adult in that room, would think if I told them about my stick collection? My house is full of bottles wielding twigs, branches from trees, feathers, dried flowers and pods; and bowls of pebbles can be found on benches, beside the televisions and books. Even the dashboard of my brand new car that boasts talking technology I can’t ever fathom I’ll use, has been described as a terrarium.
I can honestly add to this that one of the greatest gifts I have ever been given was a ‘found object’, a white rock from a mountain in New Zealand that my best friend gave me on her return. It was free, it was found in the dirt, but also from ‘another world’ that my friend had adventured through. This small piece of ‘other’ now sits on one of said benches in my home and it is a gift I still marvel at, as wide-eyed as a child in the throws of wonderment. Did I mention I was 33 years old?
Found treasures are indeed the greatest of simple pleasures because they are simply that – found, unexpected, on the path of your journey. Whether an overseas adventure or simply your daily walk to work, the surprise you feel when you come upon a treasure (or perhaps when it comes upon you…) can catapult you into a state of what David Byrne describes as ‘time delay fireworks’. Further to this, connecting with the object, seeing and choosing it beyond and amongst anything else on your path, the object becomes imbued with life. The stick does indeed become a sword.
My pebbles for instance, the particular ones I come across that fill me with delight, are always smooth, round and heavy. The simultaneous weight and softness of my little treasures ground me, sink me into a body, my body, that is sometimes caught in the throws of a busy day.
My feathers? A lightness of being when I feel a little ‘weighed down’ and a sense of possibility, of what’s out there if I take flight.
The pods? God damn they’re sexy. Each one of them a cavern of hidden wonders ready to birth. I connect immediately to the most womanly parts of myself here (and maybe keep my eyes open at the same time for a man wielding a stick. Erhm).
The gnarled twigs and sticks are my favorite though. There is something in the way they reach up and out, clumsily, that I love. Trying they are to grow, to stick (if you pardon the pun) their feelers out into the world, but they just look so awkward doing it, particularly in winter, bare and vulnerable, that I am reminded of how clumsy I can be tripping about my day and how we are all a little awkward in our process of growth.
The personalities or life I give these treasures aside, each one of course also becomes a memento of the adventure I’ve been on. The treasure proves to myself and others that I went out into the world and still lived to tell the tale.
Watching Brian Cox’s ‘Wonders of Life’ last night and considering the fact that it is often things born of nature that bring me the most pleasure, the greatest sense of wonderment when I come upon them, I’m reminded how little pleasure things I’ve bought on overseas or daily adventures have brought me, how quickly their shine fades.
The intricacies and complexities of earths designs however never seem to lose there shine. Even though we now know so much now about our planet and even a little beyond, awe and wonder can still be inspired if we indeed look at the environment we traverse through on a daily basis with the knowledge that people like Brian Cox impart.
When you consider that not one part of the earth you travel through daily, not one natural treasure you might see or gather along the way, is the same, your ‘everyday’ becomes a lot more spectacular and the earth the most wonder-full of playgrounds.
I can’t not get a little excited by this thought. A sort of puppy-like energy takes over. But a word of caution here though: don’t ever try and put me on a leash if you see me in this state, don’t hold me back when I go to sniff out these treasures. I’ll tell you why.
The intricacies and design of nature that inspire the sense of wonderment in me, that gives me that puppy like energy some people feel so ready to deflect or squash, is actually what gives me fuel. On days I’ve found hard to get out of bed, it’s always been a beautiful sunrise that’s breathed energy into my body. Outside in the world some days falling over, those poor branches lying broken on the ground have made me laugh; and those pods tickle in me a desire for new life when I may need it. These things inspire wonderment in me and that wonder inspires me to keep adventuring, to keep looking and keep marveling at the honor and privilege I have being on this planet.
Wonder. Meant …that any battle can be fought when there’s a stick lying around.
Ps. Wasn’t lying. Welcome to my home …a land of treasures. And check out the photography of Karl Blossfeldt. He knew to wonder at natural treasures : )