Monday, February 25, 2013

Wonders of the World - 6

There's no denying it at this point -- there are just too many wonders in the world to try to limit the number to 7.  The wonders of the world  -- regardless of who is making the determinations-- are beyond the single digits and perhaps it is limitless.  I feel a sense of relief in coming to terms with my conclusion.  The world must have been ancient and narrow when seven places were determined.  My world is neither small or limited and it delights me that I am going to spend the rest of my life seeing and experience wonders and even then, I will not see them all. 

A maple tree in my front yard tapped and receiving sap.
When I was a child and would do something that surprised my parents -- for example, I might complete a chore without being asked (it might have happened) -- there was a standard reply from my mom.  Her comment was, "Will wonders never cease?," meaning "Wow, I can't believe it."  I've been working on Karen's Wonders of the World for a couple of weeks now and I can say with confidence :  Wonders will never cease!

Number six on my list is a variety pack of natural, scientifically explainable, magical moments in nature.  Do you remember contemplating the origin of clouds when you were a child? Many of us assumed those fluffy puffs came from a smoke stack.  Teachers along the way have given me the academic explanation of clouds, rainbows, and so much more. I'm sure the information was spot on, but for the most part -- it really doesn't matter.  The explanation doesn't diminish the wonder.

Other items in this same category would include how sap from the maple tree drips noisily into pails  and the concentrated syrup resulting from it, the look of petosky stones once they've been polished for all the world to see the beautiful patterns, the metamorphosis of an unattractive caterpillar to a drop dead gorgeous butterfly, the mystical angles of an amethyst geode, or even the ability of a chicken to daily create a rounded object within itself and eject it daily, the soothing hum of a contented llama and the ability of a robin to create a nest, salmon swimming upstream, an insect looking like a stick.   Nature is filled with wonder in every direction we look. 


This quest began with my gazing into the Grand Canyon and that geological wonder would find itself on this long list of naturally occurring wonders.  I can't stop naming them . . .

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Wonders of the World - 5

The ability to create and to appreciate art is the fifth of My Wonders of the World. In a previous post I shared with you that my word of inspiration for 2013 is Create, and the wonder of creativity is an important aspect of being human. 

My day isn't complete without some sort of creative expression, whether that's needlepointing the canvas that will become a pillow on my sofa, cooking a great dinner to be placed on a pleasingly decorated table or maybe I just decide to dress myself with a little more pizazz than usual.  It feels so good to create.  It is amazing what we have the ability to create.

When I walk into a museum, I turn into a human sponge.  I don't try to become a sponge, it just happens.  The evidence of human creativity causes a need to soak it all in.  On my most recent visit to the Detroit Institute of Arts, I felt like I had been a nomad wondering in the desert, dying for a drink of water.  My thirst to look upon examples of art was so great, that I drank it in with a sense of desperation.  As my thirst became quenched, I wanted to shed a tender tear at my state of satisfaction.

There are plenty of artists that I don't particularly enjoy and styles that I just don't resonate with. I visited the  Andy Warhol  museum, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, even though I wasn't a fan.  I didn't want to miss out on an adventure.  There was a long narrow piece that I was drawn to -- it was metallic with Rorschach like designs all over it.  I studied it and pondered it.  When I finally read the adjoining description, I found out the variations in color were a result of the combinations of the metallic palate and his own urine as he dispensed it as was desired.  What a hoot.  What a wonder. I love art.

When one is in the midst of graduate school, one does not have much discretionary income. Even in that financial state, when I saw one of Paul Sawyier's works while walking through the mall in Lexington, Kentucky -- I fell in love.  I had to have it. I had to scrimp and save and do without a few necessities to get that limited edition, numbered print.  It was worth it! Sawyier was considered a great grandson to the great Impressionists.  I was moved by his subjects, his colors, the subtle nuances of his characters.  For over 25 years it has hung in a place of honor in every home I have lived in. It still moves me and now, it is just part of me. Art is like that.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Wonder of the World - 4

Truffle, my miniature schnauzer wonder of the world
I'm an animal lover.  I'm crazy about dogs.  In fact, I can't remember a time when I wasn't enamored with all canines. 

I've had all sorts of animals as pets -- it started simply enough as a small child as a puppy beagle (Snoopy) and I tumbled and grew up together.  Then I had an assortment of rabbits and fish.  Finally Mom gave in to Dad and I and we brought home my little brother -- an all black Cocker Spaniel named Mr.  I cried on him, played endlessly with him, he got me through high school and more, Mr. was a wonderful dog.

As an adult, I've had llamas, goats, chickens, more dogs, fish, turtles, cats, rabbits, and perhaps another here and there.  Some are just pets that I enjoy, but others I've had incredible and rather uncanny relationships with.

In some traditions animals are understood to bring or represent certain divine powers.  There are those who believe that a relationship with a chosen animal provides a powerful connection to a source greater than one without said animal or pet.

 I'm blessed to say they I have experienced that holy connection on several occasions.  I'm not particularly a cat person, but I had an almost human relationship with a mama barn cat in the past.  She would nap with me and a chicken outside on the hammock, and she even told me where to find an injured animal.  She and I had a relationship that filled me with wonder.

There are so many animals that delight me.  Giraffes are a particular favorite, as I love feeding them and having that 18 inch black tongue wrap around my hand in search of a biscuit.  Dolphins are common favorites and I had a chance to swim with them and be mesmerized by their beauty.  I adored the baby goats who made their nursery on our back porch--they made me giggle as they sprang straight up in the air.  Animals are a gift to amaze us.  Animals are to be treasured and respected.

My two year old miniature schnauzer,  Truffle is that animal with whom I have a strong bond presently.  She and I spend every day together.  It amazes me how loving and loyal she is, how patient and tolerant she is.  Some day I should try to count how many times she makes me smile and laugh.  Truffle provides me with a sense of calm in the midst of each day.  If she isn't within reach, I stopped what I'm doing and search for her.

My fourth Wonder of the World is the relationship we are privileged to have with the four legged beings surrounding us. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

My Wonders of the World -- Number 3

Dad and Mom, Dick and Marylin Knight during the year of my birth. 
 Mom and I were on the phone and I was attempting to describe the love I have for my children. I was overwhelmed by the depth of love,  my heart was so full, it was brimming over.  As is often the case, we are at a loss for adequate words when it comes to the subject of love.  This moment was intense with emotion and I fumbling for the right words.  I wanted my message to be heard and understood.

The was a silence on the other end of the line.

"Honey," Mom began gently. "Do you realize that's how much I love you?'

There was another silence. I didn't know what to say.

My Mom full of life and love.

What an epiphany.  I knew my parents loved me -- blah, blah, blah -- they have to say that.  They are required to love me.  Somewhere during adolescence and early adulthood I'd lost touch with that connection between parent and child with me still in the child role.  Even though I was a parent, I was still a daughter.

I was completing lost in the love I had for my children -- I was confident in that love -- I would give my life for theirs without an hesitation.

For the first time, I was realizing that someone had that same love for me.  Wow.  It was a wonder -- a great wonder to behold.  It was a wonder that I had walked right into the middle of and had never opened my eyes to see it.  Now that my eyes were opened, I couldn't believe I had missed it for so long.

"Oh ... wow," was about all I could say in response to Mom's comment.  "I'd never thought of that before."  She didn't say a whole lot more, but I could just hear her smiling wide, pleased that I'd finally figured out her gift of wonder to me.

This wonder is the other side of My First Wonder of the World, but it is important enough, and life changing enough to have its own number.  Whatever our age, we were still the son or daughter of someone, and they love(d) us with a great love.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

My Wonders of the World -- Number 2

Falling deeply, madly, passionately, totally in love  and the completeness that brings a person is the second Wonder of the World from my perspective.  Certainly that are several components of romantic or erotic love that are intoxicating -- from the first glance of attraction, time and attention directed your way, a proposal of marriage, the first tender kiss, to the surrender of love making. 

I remember is 7th grade I had progressive crushes on three different boys named Jim.  All my free time was spend mooning for each one.  I wrote "Jim" over and over again on my school folders.  It came in handy that I didn't have to purchase a new folder with the beginning of each new crush.

It took me a lot of year and a herd of failed relationship to learn that a long term relationship/marriage/partnership requires physical, emotional, social, spiritual and sexual connection.  When all those attractions and combinations are present -- that's a love to savor. That's a soul mate and a relationship to surrender to.

My husband in my precious best friend who supports me, balances me, attracts me, is proud of me, makes me laugh, and makes me proud.  After 11 years of marriage, my heart leaps when Dave comes home.  My heart melts when he embraces me.

There is an intimacy deeper than sexual and its a profound sharing of the emotional and spiritual awareness of self and one another.  When it is present, it is palpable.  When it isn't present, we often try to create it from lesser attractions.  Truly making love requires attraction in all the areas of relationship.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

My Wonders of the World -- Number One


My two teacher of that which is wonder-filled -- my daughter, Arden and son, Nicholas.

 Without a micro second of hesitation, my first thought of what in all of life is a wonder of the world, is having children.  No wait a minute, don't think I'm being all emotionally gooey and saying what a mother of two is supposed to say! From the moment I knew that I was pregnant with my first child -- that was March 17th of 1992 -- I was also pregnant with a great sense of awe in the creation of life.  I carried with me a true sense of the sacred when my children were "being knitted together in my womb" as the Christian scriptures beautifully describe.

During the process of birthing itself, I will save you from any vivid descriptions or thoughts.  Dr. La Fleur did have to spend some time convincing me that women do, indeed, live through the process and have for some time.  I will never forget that moment of delight when I was told each child was healthy and beautiful.  Each new born was placed in my arms immediately after that initial check.  My heart melted and I haven't been the same since.


 At each stage of their lives, my life has been touched in ways that are beyond summarizing in this tiny space. Now they are young adults who have my respect as well as my love.  I am filled with wonder.


Monday, February 4, 2013

A Wonder of the World

A view of magnificent proportions
 It is listed as one of the Seven Wonders of the World -- now I know why!  The Grand Canyon in Arizona is truly amazing.

With two cameras around my neck, sensible shoes on my feet and my mouth open with unabashed awe -- I wasn't ashamed if I look like the tourist that I was.

My husband and I took a week to visit his daughter and family in Arizona -- a great time with our grand daughters -- Alexis and Megan.  For this visit I was determined to set my eyes on this place that is to not be missed in one's life time.

I did find myself wishing that I'd paid more attention to Professor Corliss in Geology 101 as it would have informed my understanding of the ancient history that was unfolded, layer by layer before my eyes.

After a couple of vantage points, I'd taken in all that I could

Dave and I with the Canyon in the background/
and we set out to meander through some souvenir shops -- the tackier the better. We weren't even to the truck before I began drafting my own list of wonders.  Who made up these lists, anyway?  The Seven Wonders of the World -- The Seven Geological Wonders of the World -- The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.   
I am grateful to say that I have seen another wonder or two -- I've stood in awe on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, I became separated from my husband and a bit lost for a while when I saw the Parthenon on the Acropolis of Ancient Greece and I've stood before the massive pool that reflects the exotic Taj Mahal in India.  These were all experiences that literally took my breath away (especially the getting lost part).
But as I continued to ponder what I would place on my list of seven wonders, I'm not sure I would list those wonderful destinations.  In the next few days, I'd like to share with you the wonders that made my list.  I hope you will be inspired by The Seven Wonders of Karen's Corner of the World.