This holiday season, I treated myself to a set of camera lenses for my iPhone. I love photography, though I’m only an amateur photographer at best. But enjoy the act of capturing a moment in time or a beautiful scene with a thoughtfully composed snapshot. And I love marveling at the ways that others capture the beauty of the world through their photo offerings. While some will bemoan the negative effects of social media on today’s society, I confess that I am, more often than not, inspired by the thoughts and images that float through my Instagram feed. I figured it was time to “up my game” in photography and experiment a bit to see what I could offer up.
So, I bought two lenses for my iPhone camera — a wide-angle lens for allowing me to capture more of a scene, and a macro lens to get up close and detailed photographs. Of the two, it was the macro lens that really captured my imagination. I myself deep in wonder at the hidden details behind the most ordinary objects that lay in my visual path.
If there’s one skill or emotion that I am increasingly at a loss for these days, it’s wonder. When I think back to my childhood, I think I had a hyper-accentuated sense of wonder. Everything seemed to have a spiritual tinge, and it was as if I found God and awe in the most mundane of life experiences: the motion of trees in the wind, the ants on the sidewalk, the sounds of music vibrating from the strings of my piano. Now many decades older, I find it’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle of everyday life and skip over the daily opportunities to wonder at the world.
The past year has taken a particular toll on my sense of wonder. I moved from deadline to deadline, deliverable to deliverable over the course of 12 months with barely a pause to take it all in. My lack of consistency on this very blog of mine is an indicator of that inability to slow the motion of things. It wasn’t until late November came that I finally found caught my breath a bit. The winter rains came, clearing the air of smoke from nearby forest fires here in California.
Thanksgiving opened the door to reflection. I lost several family members in the course of a few weeks to illness and old age. I could feel the universe telling me to slow down, that m time on this planet is not something to whittle away.
As the world celebrates fresh new possibilities for the New Year 2019, I am recommitting myself to the art of wondering. I don’t want another day to go by without a chance to wonder at the world, to look more deeply into things, to cherish friends and family, to make music, to read poetry and marvel at the profoundness in words, to see the patterns and lines and details of life in greater focus. This will be my year to pause more, to wonder more with my macro lens in my pocket, ready to capture life with detail from moment to moment.