I wonder…

“I wonder” is a powerful question, it opens up our curiosity, and from this comes exploration, experience, awareness and an opportunity to learn.  I often feel that a perceived lack of knowledge of our natural world is preventing adults from taking children outdoors and spending time with them in nature, connecting to all that surrounds them.  Children love to ask questions, hundreds if not thousands of them a day, and this is their way of figuring out the world around them.  However, many adults are uncomfortable when they are unable to answer those questions, and this is often the case when it comes to naming trees, recognising birds or identifying creatures living in our woods.

Instead of seeing this as a challenge to our knowledge, why not see this as an opportunity to share in a child’s wonder, to learn together from all that we do not know, to share the experience as equals.  For a child to hear an adult say “I don’t know” is a wonderful thing.  It shows them that learning is an open ended experience, that just because we are “grown up” we do not have all the answers, and that adults too can gain great joy from new discoveries.  It also teaches children that there does not have to be an answer to every question, that in fact by wondering we are opening up our awareness to the world around us and that learning comes from awareness as much as from any answer.  How much richer is the learning that comes from our wondering,  when we meet something meaningful to us, rather than being told about what others think we should know.

I have looked at an old oak tree and thought:

“I wonder how far your roots spread underground?”

“I wonder how many creatures are living in your branches?”

“I wonder what love stories have been carved into your bark?”

” I wonder how many trees have grown from your acorns?”

I have never found out the answers to these questions, but I look at that oak tree in a new light, with admiration for all that it provides, all that it has seen and experienced, and a recognition of the interconnectedness of the natural world with human life.

Next time you are out in nature and you see something new or intriguing or unknown to you, or even note something that you see daily but have never paid close attention to before, say to yourself “I wonder…..” and see how that feels.  Does it change your experience of place, do you notice a sense of relaxation in knowing that you don’t have all the answers, does it open your eyes and your awareness to all that surrounds you?  Encourage those with you to try the same and enjoy the questions that will be posed and all the wonder that will naturally unfurl in response.  Because wonder provides the perfect connection to nature and allows us to be at one with it.

IMG-20171217-WA0001“I wonder who lives down this hole?”

20170620_094915.jpg“I wonder why their antennae retract when they touch off something?”

20170602_131426“I wonder what’s hiding beneath these leaves?”

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