Where Did Wonder Go?
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Politics and Activism

Where Did Wonder Go?

My imagination is fleeing.

Where Did Wonder Go?
Katherine M. Blanner

I laid on my back in the middle of Art Hill, a giant field in Forest Park in St. Louis, MO, staring at the stars. I wondered how many people had seen the same stars as me and contemplated what lay beyond. I presumed that, before it was a widely known scientific fact that the stars are just giant balls of gas in the galaxy that appear to twinkle, perhaps it was considered that they were little holes poked into the backdrop that shrouded the heavens. I thought that maybe the fact of me wondering about wonder must mean that it's still alive, right?

I have this theory that cities are the antithesis of theism. Let me explain this: every brick and block laid in a city is placed accordingly because of the fact that someone wanted them to be there. Mankind has the power to make his own environment and control most of the factors. On the other hand, nature is wild and largely untamed. Controlling nature is somewhat possible, but it ultimately grows wherever it wants to. I was laying on my back in the middle of a field in the city wondering about wonder and how there is very little of it left in the world.

Our imaginations, as children, are incredibly unlimited. Our minds perceive wonderment and the beauty of the world in a "what if" ignorance. I remember the bounds of my imagination did not end when I was a child. I could create books of fiction in my mind that could not be contained. As adults, and in my own adulthood, I have witnessed the slow death of my imagination. I do not believe it's fully dead yet, but largely my inspiration comes from what I have witnessed, not what I have dreamed. It is amazing to think about my own sense of wonder and wonder where it vanished to.

I presume my lack of wonder is largely due to the fact that cities are the antithesis of theism. Wondering about a great beyond or a controlling force of the universe can be easily swept under the rug. However, the other day, I realized that the little wonder left in the world can be found, at least for me, in the places where humans seldom go. I have found wonder on rooftops, in exploring the city, exploring nature and wondering about humans.

Perhaps wonder is not as far gone or far off as I thought it was. I have a tendency to immerse myself in my surroundings without contemplation or reflection. However, when the mind is permitted to wonder and wander, amazing things happen.

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