For six decades, I’d have to admit that I took life for granted. Not the blessings in my life—those I’ve always been thankful for—but the “lifeness” of it all, that there is a universe, a galaxy, a planet. That bodies can walk on it. That some have a thousand legs, some four, some two, some none at all. That gravity keeps us from flying off the ground. Most days now, I am stopped in my tracks by the magic of it all.
I am not only speaking of the good, or of beauty. It is equally amazing to me that I can feel pain, that objects that belong in the trash can litter the ground. I am stunned that bodies arrive on the planet, and then leave unexpectedly. How can a tree come from a seed? So mysterious! It bewilders me—another form of astonishment—that one form can harm another, that one can eat another. That plants can eat animals, and animals can eat plants.
The graduate student at a library table nearby is laughing repeatedly. Laughter—noise spilling from a two-legged body that denotes delight. How surprising!
Last spring, deer ate all but three leaves from a weeping Japanese maple we planted three years ago. I found myself more amazed than any other emotion. The tree was bare. Will it survive? I am awed that it might be able to regenerate, and equally stunned that it could die and be reabsorbed by the soil.
Some days my wonder and astoundment are so profound that it seems that I must have just arrived from another dimension. And yet, having noticed this depth of awe, I would not change it, and I wonder how I managed for so long not to notice the miniscule miraculous that is everywhere, both outside and inside.
© Skye Blaine, 2011