Awe and wonder

full moonAnd each one there
Has one thing they share:
They have sweated beneath the same sun,
Looked up in wonder at the same moon,
And wept when it was all done
For bein’ done too soon,
For bein’ done too soon.
For bein’ done.

     –  From the song Done Too Soon
                      by Neil Diamond

Awe and wonder

Cherish the moments of awe and wonder in life.

Once upon a time, when we were young and strong and confident and immortal, we had the world and all the time in the world, dreams without limits and an unlimited number of new days and new wonders ahead.  We were not foolish or insensitive, just ignorant and naïve.

Certainly we did not lack for daring, fervor, or passion.  Then, perhaps even more than now, we were awed and enchanted by the rise of a full October moon over the rim of the shortgrass prairie, mesmerized by a night sky awash in stars, unpolluted by the glow of city lights.  We were bright, shining, fiery, varied as the constellations, full as the Milky Way, endless as the Universe.  We thought, if we thought at all, that we would witness these marvels, and these emotions, again and again, endlessly, thousands of moon rises, thousands of moments of splendor and excitement.

But on this autumn evening, much later in life, the moon rise stirs passions more dulcet, mellow, bittersweet.   Most of our dreams have been realized, or have faded away like the last light of day, and those that we still hold are more modest and guarded.  The years have not made us callous, exactly, but we are no longer naïve.  We are too seldom excited to discover what life has to offer, and we are too often apprehensive to learn what life is taking away.

I do not mean to be overly maudlin.  The joys of life are no less intense and gratifying in these years, but we savor them differently.  Sunset, moon rise, storm at sea, dawn after an Arctic blizzard, the hug of a child, the kiss of a lover, an evening of talk with a long-time friend, the murmur and warmth of a fire in the woodstove.  Through the passing years we learned these moments, these miracles of passion, are seldom and fleeting.

Do not take them lightly.  Do not take them lightly.  That full moon rising?  You will stand in awe of it fifty times in your life at most, perhaps fewer.  Perhaps many times fewer.  A quiet night with someone you love in your arms and nothing else in the world of any importance?  A hundred such nights?  You would be among a fortunate few.

We have all sweated beneath the same sun.  We have all looked up in wonder at the same moon.  And we shall weep when it is all done, for being done too soon.

Cherish the moments of awe and wonder in your life.

About Jerry Johnson

Curmudgeon. Bird hunter and dog trainer. Retired journalist and college public relations director. Former teacher, coach, mentor. Novelist and short story writer. Husband, father, grandfather.
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4 Responses to Awe and wonder

  1. Ann says:

    You have said it well, Jerry.

  2. Don says:

    There have been only a few times in my life when I suddenly stopped and became aware of how GREAT everything was. Just fully conscious. It would only last a few seconds, but I would always remember it. The first time this happened I was with my dad waiting for a haircut in Cleveland in a corny, old-school mens barbershop. Just seemed like time stopped and I remembered everything about it, like just sliding into a pearl of amber.

    ONce this happened when we were all roommates at Ohio State, Michael, me and Jane Neuffer went out on the last evening of fall, before winter rolled in. We wound up on the oval, in a big pile of leaves they intended to sweep up sometime soon. We covered ourselves in leaves and it was very warm. We talked, but less and less, and we all fell asleep.

    I remember waking up the next morning. It had snowed overnight, and there was an inch or two of snow covering everything. people were hurrying to classes, heads down against the wind. I called out to Michael and Jane, we rousted ourselves and cam out of the leaves and snow, throwing a bit of scare or bewilderment into the early morning class goers. We reeked. Walked into a nearby cafeteria, had some breakfast and said our goodbyes.

    so much happens. We remember so little. Thankfully, I don’t remember most of the parts where I was the oaf, the bully, or the mean-spirited prick. aint it wonderful?

    • janwebcap says:

      Don – I know what you mean – I call them ‘moments of pure joy’ –Thankfully, I have had many more in my life than you have…I have this belief that if more people believed in them (i.e., believed that they were possible) and paid attention to their feelings on an ongoing basis a lot of them would recognize that these “magic moments” occur more often than they would have otherwise realized….

  3. janwebcap says:

    Jer – Please get out of the past tense…just start writing in the present tense and maybe, just maybe, your mind will follow…either that or start writing poetry…cause so much of your writing could take that route.

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