Monday, May 5, 2014

Glimpse of Wonder

He who can no longer pause to wander and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.
-Albert Einstein

Instead of making resolutions at the beginning of the year, I made a bucket list. Call it a be-more-childlike bucket list. Not the jump-out-of-airplanes-meet-a-sitting-president-before-I-die kind of list. Besides, I’ve already done those things. My list looks like: call my high school friend Kelly more, create a terrarium, and visit a botanical garden. “Boring,” you say. Is it?

Making a list like mine has a few benefits. First, it got me thinking about the things that really make me happy, the stuff that feeds my curiosity when I allow my mind to wander. Most of the items on my list don’t require money, or discipline, but they do require time and intentionality. This type of bucket list is less about doing, and more about being, specifically being with myself. Not the I-need-an-hour-to-get-my-hair-done kind of time, either. I’m talking about slowing down long enough to check in, pause to wander and stand rapt in awe. Making the time to do nothing, then seizing the opportunity to do anything. Going on a playdate. Alone.

My date yesterday consisted of playing hookie from a writing conference in Fort Lauderdale, then taking the long way to Fairchild Botanical Gardens. I soaked up the dilapidated mid-century modern motels along US-1 and

oversized banyon trees consuming crumbling art deco apartments in between Hollywood and Miami Shores. Beautiful decay. Impermanence. New growth. I navigated through the urban jungle of downtown Miami before arriving in the timelessly elegant Coral Gables. Fairchild Botanical Gardens is an 85- acre collection of thousands of rare trees and plants from across the globe. There are more than 400 species alone that start with the letter A. I took about a ga-jillion pictures and when my battery was down to 1%, I took a few more of what I’m guessing is the blossom of a banana plant. The breeze rustled the leaves to allow a glimmer of sunlight into my last picture just before my iPhone died. 

When I recharged it, this is what I found. This light travelled 93 million miles, going at a rate of 186 thousand miles a second to show up in this sun selfie. Ironic, that it required me to slow down to catch a glimpse.

By the way, I bought a terrarium house in the gift shop and called my friend Kelly on the way home.

What will you put on your bucket list?

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