For Want of Wonder

ce113e_e_baby-shoesNext time you take a walk outside – please God you have a place outside to walk – you should try doing it the way my year-and-a-half old brother does it.

This is not to say that you should walk in circles, or trip over your own feet, or play at faceboarding (which is like skateboarding, but with your face). What I mean is – well, maybe what I mean is best illustrated with a story. Don’t worry. It’s only a short one.

My brother and I went for a walk last week. The weather was unusually pleasant for early March. We had our hats and jackets on and he held my finger and we walked on the road in front of our house, just the two of us. I had it in my head that we would go straight on for a bit, turn around, and come straight back. I might have known better.

His idea of a walk was more like this: Start. Stop. Turn around. Walk the other way. Turn around again, just to see if big brother is paying attention. Stop. Listen attentively to the strange noise coming from one of the nearby houses (a dog, barking). Walk a little more. Stop. Point at a tree in the neighbor’s yard. Look up at the sky. Smile. Laugh. Start walking again.

That’s the way my brother did it.

At first I would pick him up and turn him about and encourage him to “come on, bud.” Come on, bud – because going from Point A to Point B without pausing is the efficient thing to do. But then I stopped. I stopped because his way of walking made my way of walking seem pretty boring. 

A walk for him was not about the walking, not really. He had his senses working overtime, and it was glorious. Here was the world, all his for the wondering at. Efficiency be buried and damned.

Chesterton once wrote that we are not perishing for want of wonders, but for want of wonder. My brother has that wonder. He has far more of it than I. Which is another way of saying I have far less of it than I should.

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