Every morning, Loki wakes me up bright and early so I can take him out to go potty. As it gets colder, getting up becomes harder. Nonetheless, he adamantly reminds me of the urgency of the matter and drags me outside.
A couple weeks ago, it was quite chilly. I stood there with him, my arms crossed, chanting my morning mantra, “Go potty…go potty…”. Then, I heard the honking of geese overhead. Migration time had arrived, and there they were in their “V” formation. It was a sign: winter was coming. I sighed.
Then, I looked at my dog to see if he was doing what he was supposed to. Nope. Of course, not. My puppy wasn’t going potty at all. Instead, he stood there wide-eyed looking at the geese fly over. It was the first time he had ever heard and seen geese like that. The look of awe on his face was adorable. His posture somehow made it look like he was glowing with wonder. And I realized that I couldn’t remember the first time I saw geese go south.
It was both a sad and wonderful moment. It was sad because I noticed how much I had stopped noticing things. And it was wonderful because I was able to reconnect with my own sense of wonder vicariously though Loki.
Back in my college days, I had a conversation with my roommate (who was quite possibly the most brilliant man I have yet to meet). He said that I reminded him of Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes. I told him that I considered that a compliment, since I believed that the keys to unlocking the secrets of the universe were in seeing it through the eyes of a child. It’s about the awe and wonder. It’s about experiencing things as fresh and new.
For whatever reason, we have been immersed in the majesty of creation. Right now, it’s Fall. The weather is changing. The trees are turning color to amazing shades of yellow, red, and brown. And, yes, geese are flying south. If we aren’t careful, we are going to miss it.
I know, there are so many things to worry about, like bills, responsibilities, and commitments. And I don’t deny that they need our attention. But our spirits need our attention, too. And perhaps one of ways that our spirits thrive and grow best is by having the opportunity to experience awe and wonder. It’s like exercise for the soul. When we have a moment of fascination, we reach out on the inside to touch and explore our world around us in deeper ways. The more we resonate with our world, the less we feel like transients just passing through life and more like we belong here in our little corner of creation.
If we want to experience awe and wonder, we have to allow ourselves to be drawn out of those all-consuming concerns of the moment that keep us trapped in our heads. There are many ways to do this. Perhaps first and foremost, we have to listen to our spirits. They will tell us what direction they want to be pointed in, if we allow it. I believe everybody has something handy that will trip that trigger. The trick is finding out what that something is.
Right now, I have such experiences primarily with my cat and dog. They are two completely different creatures–polar opposites in so many ways–and they are both doing their best to get close to one another. They try to communicate, but they speak past each other constantly (do the ears back and tail moving mean “I want to be friends, so come close” or “get the hell away from me you furry beast”?). They do the strangest things and make me laugh. When I finally see them laying near each other or sleeping together, they warm my heart. Sometimes, they even draw me even further out of myself then I expect. And the result: and I get to re-experience the wonder and awe of geese flying overhead again for the first time. My spirit enlivened, I once again feel at home in the world.