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trees in the snow

Adulthood and Wonder

March 22, 2018

Categories: Nature Notes

By Wolf Ridge Naturalist

My mother with a chickadee on her head!

Being an adult, I sometimes forget about the magic of nature.

I forget about the rolling hills of the eroded Sawtooth mountains, the tiny networks of organisms in lichens, the peeling exposed bark of the paper birch, the tall red pines, and wolf tracks along ski trails. Even as I live here, it can be easy to forget to be curious, to play outside, to let sunshine reflect off the snow onto my bitterly cold cheeks.

I am a naturalist because I crave those moments of wonder.

When I experience them, is it really that difficult to maintain? If I’m not careful, the outside world can settle in: emails to be sent, schedules to be made, papers to write, bills to pay. But if I am intentional about seeking adventure, it is easy to see the beauty.

Seeing children play and experience the joy and empowerment of exploration inspires me to do the same. Wolf Ridge is not just a place for children to gain confidence outside, or to feel like they are the first ones to discover a skull, a beautiful agate, or snow cave. Throughout adulthood changes and transitions happen, but our inner voices remain the same. Some things may not be as novel, but there are opportunities that we did not have before to be inquisitive, and to share in the story. Perhaps our role changes to being a mentor or a teacher, but there is still room for wonder.

This morning as I woke up from a daylight savings sleep-deprived rest, I went over to make coffee in our upstairs lounge. Outside over Lake Superior was a sunrise-like fire, bright and red, casting orange light into clouds and surrounded by many shades of blue. The rest of my day I was able to wonder at all the downy and hairy woodpeckers I saw at the feeders in bird’s class, the ravens mating in the rocks in Raven Lake, the communities gathering around the table for a meal in the dining hall, and then sparks from our fire disappearing into the sparkling starlit sky.

Calling all parents and teachers: when is a time you experienced wonder at Wolf Ridge? How has nature, our environment, and our history inspired you?