A moment of wonder is an unforgettable moment with nature. It can be a moment when you are lucky enough to witness a rarity or natural wonder. It can be an instance when you were struck with poignancy, understanding, or a shift in perspective. A moment of wonder takes your breath away and leaves you thinking, ‘did that seriously just happen?!’ A moment of wonder can be exciting or joyful, or it can be sorrowful or terrifying. Regardless of the emotions, though, you can guarantee they are deep-rooted and that recalling your moment of wonder brings back a part of those emotions. A moment of wonder strikes you with awe and can often alter your perspective on the world.
So, if you aren’t sure you’ve had a moment of wonder, or would like to add more to your cache, read on to see Part 1 of my 6-part series on moments of wonder.
The first step to gaining a moment of wonder is to pay attention to the details. It’s difficult to be open to new experiences if you are only immersed on your own tasks or entertainment. I’ve have several experiences myself in urban environments, without even leaving my house or car.
Once, I was waiting for oncoming traffic to pass, and I looked up, only to see a bald eagle sitting on a light pole and staring into my soul! It was in the middle of the city, and most unexpected! If I hadn’t looked up, or been observing my surroundings, I would have missed the spectacular heart jumping moment when our eyes met. That moment stuck with me, and every time I think about it, my heart still jumps a little!
Another time, I was visiting my parents and happened to look out their back door just in time to see a wild turkey strolling through their yard, in the middle of a suburban area. It was strutting around like it was part of the family. It was so silly, and the whole thing was witnessed from indoors. It still makes me chuckle thinking about it, that crazy bird!
It you really want to increase your chances of gaining a new nature experience, the second step is to get your bunsy-buns outside! You’ve got to be able to see nature to appreciate its wonders! It can be a challenge for some people, but no one is asking you to go on a week-long backpacking trip in the wilderness during bad weather, using your survival skills to fend for sustenance.
Getting outside requires you to do two basic tasks: 1. stop the action you are currently taking indoors, and 2. remove yourself to the outside of the edifice. This can be as simple as eating lunch in the back yard, taking a neighborhood stroll, or sitting on your front porch. If you’re not in a wilderness mood, you can walk or ride your bike through a park or around the block. If you are feeling a little more adventurous but don’t want to be too far from civilization, you can hike or walk along the foothills.
We like to watch the bees buzzing around our flowers collecting nectar, or hummingbirds and other feathery friends swooping in our backyard. There are insects to observe, beautiful flowers and trees to appreciate, and other wildlife to appreciate, even in manicured areas.
While walking around the building I work, I’ve been able to witness countless moments of wonder! We often have a great blue heron loitering around the premises. I like to think we’re buddies by now. Once a young barn owl was roosting in a tree, and we got to observe it from inside the building and outside. I’ve even seen an osprey dive into the pond for a fish! I’ve seen birds of prey carrying off their spoils, and I like to watch the magpies building their nests.
Although nature’s wonders can be found in the smallest potted plant, it helps to immerse yourself in the great outdoors. If you really want to increase your chances of gaining a new moment of wonder, you are more likely when you feel the mountains under your feet. You will have many more experiences when you seek them out, instead of waiting for them to come to you.
For me, nothing compares to the majesty of endless forest, or watching mesmerizing flocks over a lake during the bird migration, or witnessing a mountain sunrise. The only reason I’ve had encounters with so many different creatures is because I put myself in a position where it is possible to cross paths.
I’ve seen a bald eagle soaring above me as I snowshoed along the rim of a gorge. I’ve watched elk galloping across a snowy field. I’ve seen a moose enjoying a peaceful moment as natural springs cascaded down a hill. These moments can all seem too picturesque, but they are real! Not only did they happen, but they happened to me! I’m not an extreme adventurer or wildlife photographer. I live a pretty average life, and yet, I’ve been lucky enough to collect many moments of wonder.
(All photos in this post are from my mountainous adventures. To see more mountain photography, check out my Feather & Fir Mountains Pinterest Board, here.