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Be Wowed Again
Posted: Sunday 9th February 2020 | Euan Jackson
Have we lost the simple response to be wowed by the world outside, to feel overawed by the beauty of nature? Rediscover the joy of amazement.
Growing up in an industrial town with light pollution was an irritation to a child whose hobby was astronomy.
The true wonder of a starry sky was a sensation I experienced long after leaving home and came upon as I wandered through the Sinai desert of Egypt.
When darkness descended on the first night in the open desert, time stood still and wonder poured into my soul.
I crossed into another world, a moment of new birth and mystical initiation. I felt a familiarity with something ancient yet present and urgent.
That same sky and all its glories are always overhead, regardless of cloud or urban pollution.
Yet, our waking hours are spent with heads down, micro-focussed on the immediate and often superfluous, insensitive to the wooing of the natural world around.
Aggressive urbanisation has severely impacted upon our capacity to stop, breathe and feel alive.
To fear being alone and silent, small and fragile in the immensity of our tiny home in the universe.
The naive joy of asking why and how seem to be diminishing among us.
The childish pleasure of seeking out a matter gives way to instant knowledge, acquired cheaply, available through the all pervasive and relentless influence of technology.
Until late in our recent and more industrial history, rural living was the norm for many and our ancestors were much more conscious of and connected to the natural world.
They may not have understood the physical mechanisms of their world and hence gave fanciful, superstitious interpretation to what they observed around them.
However, they were alive to the wonder of life under an open sky, instantly in harmony with the natural rhythms of the earth. Such an existence birthed curiosity and instinctive searching out of latent truths.
In kind, the earth responded and disclosed her secrets and what we learnt made for a better world, the world of progress.
They promised us we were advancing.
But the result of technological progress has proved to be the very thing that has reduced our innate capacity to be wowed as we once were.
We have been seduced into surrendering wonder for indifference, gratitude for entitlement, fascination for boredom.
I am fortunate to now live rural, in a place where I often see the Milky Way banding its way through the constellations and have even see with naked eyes our nearest neighbouring galaxy, Andromeda.
When I gaze up, I feel alive and connected with something profound and purposeful.
When I wander across barren moorland, my steps trace the impressions others have made for millennia before me.
I enter the collective memory and awareness of humanity from past to present; where I came from, what makes me uniquely me.
We must recover the pursuit of being awestruck by nature. It frames our world, gives significance to our existence. It affirms to us that we are special, perhaps unique in all the cosmos.
Maybe there is life elsewhere but all we know for sure, is that there is sentient life on our planet, aware of itself and capable of the full potential of the human experience.
When was the last time you stood outside on a dark night, looked up and felt the starlight from a billion year journey fall softly upon your face?
Touched the bark of an ancient oak tree, awed by its strength, grounded to the earth through its immovable roots?
Breathed deep the musty scent from a forest floor?
Go outside and wonder; get lost in the open. Look up, look around.
Live in the moment of your existence right now.
This is your moment in time.
It will not come again.
You are here.
You are now.
Be wowed again.
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