The Wonder of Wonder

There was a time when my days were filled with wonder. As an only child, I spent many a summer afternoon lying on my back, the heat of the sidewalk warming my body. I’d stare up into the sky, watch the fog burn off, or witness the clouds change shape.

I wondered what it would be like to sit upon a cloud, suspended above the Earth; maybe it would feel like sitting on a mound of cotton candy. I knew little about science; that a cloud could not support me. My childhood mind, still fresh with wonder, did not need this information…I allowed myself to wonder.

Today I took a long walk on the beach with my 16-year-old niece. The tide was receding, and the blue sky was punctuated with billowy clouds that were mirrored in the wet sand at our feet. We marveled at the beauty. We “ooh-d” and “ahh-d”. Here and there were intact sand dollars. We collected a handful, each one lovelier than the next. Friendly dogs retrieved tennis balls, their owners greeting us, “Good morning!”

After walking for about thirty minutes, we turned around, retracing our steps; something new caught our eyes. Along the shoreline were pink and yellow rose petals, their colors popping with brilliance in contrast to the sand.

“What do you think?” I asked my niece. “Where did they come from?”

“Hm,” she said, considering the possibilities. “I’m not sure.”

“Maybe a man gave a woman a bouquet of flowers, and then she found out that he betrayed her,” I said. “She was so hurt and pained, that she stormed across the sand and tossed them into the sea.”

We played with that image…that thought…we wondered.

“Then again, we are only seeing the pedals…no stems,” I said. “Where are the stems?”

“You’re right,” she replied.

We walked some more. We wondered.

“Maybe someone died, and the family took the ashes out to sea on a boat. Perhaps they brought roses along with the ashes and scattered them both into the sea.”

We played with that image…that thought…we wondered.

“Or…there was a wedding up on the bluff of the cliff, and the flower girl collected the rose petals she had strewn along the aisle. Later, when she and her family went down to the beach to play, she threw them into the air, and the wind blew them into the ocean.”

“Yes!” my niece said with a grin.

The beach was thick with people as we returned to our starting point. Colorful umbrellas burst into the air like spring poppies. As we trudged up the dry sand toward the concrete path that lead toward home, my heart was full; my soul, satisfied; my mind more at rest.

Our question of where the rose petals originated would remain a mystery, but oh was it wonderful to wonder…