I urged my father to drive the car faster at night so we could race the moon, always believing that someday he’d go fast enough to beat it.
I found several pieces of coal in the backyard and decided I must have found a vein of coal; we’d be rich! First though, I had to consider that since diamonds were basically coal under enormous amounts of pressure, I could make my own diamonds by stacking up enough rocks on top of a chunk and wait a while. Well, I did eventually read more about the process (not as simple in those pre-computer/internet days) and realized that what seemed like a huge weight to me was not exactly going to work. After I gave up on the diamond venture I brought my news of the coal mine to my parents. I was excited because my father always had a hard time with the oil burner and now we could burn coal from my mine instead. I might have been a little backward in my energy planning, I admit it. I also might have been a bit confused about the coal mine – we used to get deliveries of coal years before I was born and plenty of stray pieces over the years got buried in the backyard to create my “mine”.
Then there was my ingenious plan to find buried treasure: I drew a map of my backyard complete with instructions to walk so many paces from the fig tree, turn some number of paces past the side of the garage, etc.. X of course, marked the spot where I would dig. I was thrilled to see what I would find, often talking up the treasure hunt for days before venturing into the yard with my shovel and pick.
I always found treasure!
I found a rock that had an actual fingerprint in it (my mother said it was a piece of toffee that had been there for ages but I knew it wasn’t). I found fossilized bones – possibly from a baby pterodactyl (my father said it was a bird – yeah, right).
I found jewels, mysterious pieces of metal, TONS of cool stuff.
Sometimes though, my adventures turned dark – I once found a bat which might have been dead or might have been undead; it was hard to tell.
For this one I had to consult my best friend and neighbor, Johnny. He was older and knew lots of stuff.
He told me it was probably a vampire bat and I needed to take precautions. After all, didn’t I have another neighbor, a creepy old lady whose last name was Bella, and didn’t I know that Dracula was played in the movies by an actor named Bela Lugosi?!
Too much of a coincidence for me.
So we put a stake through the heart of the undead and wrapped it in rosary beads and put some garlic in its mouth – well, around its head because I was too scared to touch it. We then doused it with holy water I swiped from the church and we buried it in a big matchbox.
It did not rise again; once again I had saved my family, my friends and neighbors…perhaps the world!
My world was FILLED with wonder…or I was dopey…or both. I certainly didn’t care then and I’m delighted that I don’t now either.
OK, so the other day I’d just finished a trail run and something odd caught my eye as I walked to the trail head – there, mostly covered in dirt, was a strange object. It looked reptilian, kind of like a crocodile’s skin. Maybe it was an armadillo shell. It kind of looked like a hand grenade a little bit too. I had to take a closer look.
It was a pine cone.
But for a minute or two it was something way cool to find on a trail. It was something unexpected, alien, exciting. It was something of wonder!
And just like that, I was a kid again. I wore the silliest grin for the entire day, happily remembering how easily I created excitement, thrills, adventure!
My life can be wonder-full whenever I choose.
What wonders will you find today?