While the Earth we live on offers a cornucopia of natural wonders across its surface and below, the world of the living things which inhabit it have their own assortment of surprises. From the Redwoods (something I've yet to see) reaching their skyscraper heights to the little bugs which industriously crawl through the folds underneath a mushroom top, I am constantly given to wonder when I see what I've seen appear on the computer screen before me. There is always some detail, some little aspect of that picture that either my naked eye could not see without enhancement, or some piece I did not see before until I "saw it large". The camera in my hand extends my ability to see, but even more importantly, gives me a reason to wonder.
Wondering is nowadays associated with facts and figures. "I wonder how much time it will take to get there?" "I wonder if so-and-so will remember to make that phone call?" "How much do you think this will cost? I wonder if I'll be able to afford it?" But to truly wonder is not to really be concerned with those types of specifics. It is to be surprised, delighted, fascinated with something that does not seem possible, awestruck. It is to me that very moment when I looked up into the night sky and saw the Milky Way for the first time. The stars were no longer dots of light magically projected above me in the Planetarium. They were actual points of light in the sky shooting towards Earth from distances beyond my imagination. I was wonder-filled.
I am saddened to think that most of us go through life rarely being concerned about our loss of wonder. That's not to say that we don't have moments when we look at something with wonder. But I think it happens far less in our technological society. We can virtually explain away some things that used to be quite amazing- electricity, weather, health and the human body to name a few. In the past it was wonder that drove men to look through telescopes and microscopes to figure these things out. Just when I think that wonder might be limited in this technological age, my camera reminds me that it is alive and well, and that technology itself may just be the new vehicle of wonder. I catch the movement of a hummingbird by one of my flowers. But off she flies before I can blink an eye. Quickly I grab my camera and tripod, set the focus on a plant and hope that she returns. The swiftness of her flight is a challenge, but undaunted I press the shutter and am rewarded with...wonder.