I was in the ol’ Camry driving in an easterly direction on a nearly deserted highway. It was two weeks ago just before 6:00 in the morning. The cruise control was engaged at 65 mph, the stereo was pumping out instrumental electronic dance music. The road conditions were nearly perfect, and the sky absolutely clear. Life was very good that morning.
Appearing at the right edge of the windshield was the sliver of the Moon nearly in its “New” phase. This is the phase of the Moon that makes it look most like a three dimensional sphere because the dark portion is partially lit by sunlight.
All of these things, happening all at once, triggered the sweet reverie of wonderment. It seemed amazing that I could ponder the state of this earthly environment, feel such sublime joy, and still pay attention to the road.
The state of wonder was not premeditated in any way. The mindset was completely spontaneous. This fact only magnified the feelings of wonder. It is my opinion that unexpected experiences of amazement and wonder make our lives happier and more worth living. If this delicious state of mind happens without prompting in the morning, the rest of one’s day is positively affected.
Indeed, when I reached my destination on the outskirts of the small Nebraska town, I sat on the porch stoop and pondered the pre-dawn sky. Even though sunrise wouldn’t happen until about two hours later, the eastern sky was already becoming light. The crescent Moon was situated near the “two-o’clock” portion of my point of view.
In the nearly complete silence of the rural early morning, the state of wonderment and happiness increased. Thoughts of the magnitude of our Solar System and its many wonders flooded my mind. It was easy to understand the love of Space that draws astronomers to their profession like moths to a flame. I could imagine a lone scientist in a laboratory viewing the planet Saturn through a distant Space Probe.
The crunch of a footstep on a dried-out corn leaf instantly brought me back to the present moment. I glanced towards the direction of the sound and saw a stray cat spying on me. A few seconds later, the feline scampered away. The hiss of an approaching car on the highway further distracted me. Then there were three pairs of headlights descending the hill in the darkness. I wondered if the occupants were shift workers at the nearby truck trailer factory.
The early morning chill soon motivated me to enter the house to prepare some instant coffee in the microwave. No matter where I looked that early morning, all I could do was wonder.
The Blue Jay of Happiness likes this thought from writer Rachel Carson: “The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the Universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.”