There is a hummingbird nest in a huge Scotch pine tree just outside of our dining room window. I check on it every morning while I’m eating breakfast, and every night while I’m having dinner. My daughter, Hannah, is obsessed. She spends at least an hour a day just sitting at the table watching the hummingbird sitting on her nest, who in turn, spends that same hour watching Hannah sitting on her chair. This is truly an amazing thing because nothing holds this girl’s attention for long.
The nest itself is like a tiny sake cup nestled in amongst the very end-most twigs of the tree. I wonder how many eggs are in there and when they’ll hatch. I also wonder how the hummingbird will feed her youngsters. We’re buying a hummingbird feeder soon so I can assure myself that our little hummer family will get enough food for their long flight north for the summer.
Back when I was still active in the pagan community, people would ask me how I had raised such inquisitive and curious children. I was actually rather taken aback by that question. I didn’t think that I was doing anything special – aren’t all children curious? I’m just teaching them about wonder. Wonder is an essential part of everyday life – the wonder of how a tiny acorn turns into a huge oak tree; the wonder of how some birds always return to the same nest year after year; the wonder of planting Faerie gardens and seeing tiny footprints in the morning dew; and the wonder of how kisses really do make boo-boos feel better.
Maybe it’s one of the perks of being a pagan parent – seeing the wonder in even the most mundane things. It’s definitely one of the perks of being a pagan kid. You can hold onto “childish” behaviour even into your adult years. You can build monuments to Gaea using your mashed potatoes. You believe that faeries help bread rise. You believe that the princess wasn’t rescued by the prince, but instead she rescued him and made friends with the dragon, too.
I truly believe that wonder is the most powerful of all human emotions. Wonder is what drove ancient man to build Stonehenge and the Pyramids. It’s what drove Galileo to improve the telescope and discover that the Earth orbited the sun. And it’s what drove Alexander Fleming to discover penicillin. Without wonder, without the urge to investigate and discover, our society would be stagnant; our society’s great advances are driven by wonder.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.