This morning when Toto and I arrived at the plaza below our apartment there was a family on a Sunday morning walk. An infant in the arms of its father, and a toddler running around picking up wet leaves and exclaiming with excitement how wonderful they looked. After the joy of hearing her yelps, I felt some pangs of age. Had I lost her sense of wonder at the colors and textures she kicked up with her feet? (The little girl in the picture is a few years older than the one Toto and I saw earlier in the morning.)
On reflection I decided I can still feel her sense of wonder at the new world I face each moment. I may not be able to run and hop and skip as she does. I may not be able to swoop down quickly to pick up a leaf at my feet. But even with 70 years more on me than on her, I can feel the wonder of holding up a wet leaf to admire its colors and shape and feel. Just as she did to show her mother.
I just have to pay attention to wondering. Don’t push it aside. Don’t look over it. Just wonder.
One of the pleasures of our apartment is that we live on the third level over a plaza with a lovely fountain running in the warm months. As much as I enjoy hearing the water splashing late at night when the plaza is empty, I enjoy even more the cries of children playing as their families are sitting on the benches eating ice cream or waiting for their table at the restaurant on the first level.
Wonder and play. We saw this in old age before when Miss Okamoto in Roshi Morinaga’s story said to him: “Looking back, I have led a pretty stuffy life all these years. So I think I’ll just take a ball and go out and play in the woods now.” He called this “the samadhi of play.” I just call it “wonder.”