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We need a renaissance of wonder.

“We need a renaissance of wonder. We need to renew, in our hearts and in our souls, the deathless dream, the eternal poetry, the perennial sense that life is miracle and magic”   E. Merrill Root

Source: We need a renaissance of wonder.

Tonight, I attended a dinner meeting and a recent PhD graduate presented the summary of her thesis. She used the word magic in her findings. She suggested in academia there are those who do not like that word, but it allows us to communicate with each other. When words elude us, there is something intuitive that sparks a sense of wonder and touches a person’s soul as we communicate with each other. John Dewey suggested that when we live in community we communicate and make what we value common.

Magic doesn’t fit well when we seek certainty, but the world is a magical place. When we see the snow-and tree-covered mountains in the linked post, we may not have  words to describe what we see. Moreover, we lack words to describe what we cannot see.

Quite a few years ago, we went fishing at Quesnel Lake which is a remote glacial lake in British Columbia that in some spots is almost 2000 feet deep. At one end of the lake, there are waterfalls, aptly named Niagara Falls, which cascade about 100 feet almost directly into the lake. We talked and tried to decide the source: a glacier, a lake, a spring. etc.

We anchored the boat and climbed to the top, hoping to see where the river came from. When we arrived at the top we saw the stream appeared to flow from a distant mountain, but we did not see the source. What we did experience was a spectacular view. There was something magical and wonderful (full of wonder) in that moment which overflowed with meaning for each of us.

Regardless of the source of the river and the waterfalls, each person present had a different understanding and description of that moment’s experience. Despite different descriptions, we  shared the same experience. When we described the view, we had different descriptions, which were understood by all of us who shared that experience. There was something magical and wonderful in that moment.

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About ivonprefontaine

I completed a PhD at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. Previously, I taught for 20 years and spent the last 14 years teaching in an incrediable hybrid school setting. My dissertation topic and research were how teachers experience becoming who teachers, as human subjects. For me, teaching is a calling and vocation that allows me to express who I am as a person. Currently, I am waiting and listening to what will call me. We have begun a small consulting and leadership firm called Rocky River Leadership & Consulting Ltd.

19 responses »

  1. Indeed, another WP synchronicity. I was toying with my poem about wonder to post tomorrow, but decided instead on something written 11 years ago. Wonder poem not quite ready 😉

    Reply
  2. Oh, and what is ‘certainty?’ Who defines it? Just saying, for the minute we think we know something, we may well be challenged with another even opposing stance. Even that we, ourselves, might recognize as valid. Aloha, Ivon!

    Reply
  3. ‘Magical’ seems to emanate from the ‘feelings’ experienced. We can describe something, to the best of our abilities, and each will appreciate the definition, so to speak. However, to ‘feel’ an experience, its ‘magical’ essence, connects us in ways beyond words, beyond the mundane.
    Very much enjoyed reading, Ivon. I ‘connected’ with your feelings.

    Reply
  4. When a child experiences something new for the first time, there is a pause, a moment of wonderment, maybe magic.
    The cognitive engine has no reference, no space to file this new thing, no way to categorize it.

    it seems a very mindful, moment. A time when the mind is empty, aware, amazed and ever present.

    The spiritual path is supposed to be filled with these moments

    Reply
  5. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
    WE SURE DO NEED ONE! I WONDER…?

    Reply

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