He was doing his usual investigations. Under a huge patio umbrella outside a fast food place, eyes big and thinking out loud. “So… you turn this handle around and around and that makes the rods push up and out and the umbrella goes up…” Pleased with himself, he pauses for moment.
“He always wonders about how things work” the oldest muses. “He has to figure it all out and understand why and how things do what they do… Is there something wrong with me that I don’t wonder about that? I mean, I’m not that curious about how things work. I’m just glad that they do,” she finishes simply.
I smile and reassure her. “Not at all, honey. He does wonder about that all the time though, hunh? You’re probably curious about other things.”
“Yeah.” She agrees with her honest confidence. The four of us meander across the parking lot and load up in our van.
“I guess we all wonder about different sorts of things. What do you wonder about?” I continue. Turning onto an unfamiliar street, I’m faced with a large hill off the side of the road. “For example, I wonder where does that street go? What’s up that hill? Can we get to it? How would we get up it?”
“Let’s climb up it!” he suggests excitedly. With nowhere we really need to be, I point the van in the direction of the large empty hill oddly on the outskirts of town.
My oldest continues our easy dialogue as we go. “Well, I guess I wonder about people. Like when I see someone walking or in their car going somewhere, I wonder where they are going and what their story is. I wonder about their life and the people they know. Or if I see a wall or a gate, I wonder what’s behind it. What’s happening there?”
I’m smiling a bit to myself as the van winds and ascends. Treasuring in my heart the simple self-awareness of this writer-girl.
My little-middle girl pipes up. “I wonder if things are true. I wonder what’s real or not. Like in stories, and legends or things we hear about. I want to know what is true.”
Dazzled, my breath catches a bit. I’m in awe of them and us and the things we talk about.
“That’s true isn’t it, Jo? You do seem to seek what is real and true.” I see her matter-of-fact expression in the rearview mirror as my heart swells gratefully.
We go to that hill, pull to the side of the road and start to head up it on foot.
We discover, as is so often the case, that while from far away it looked green and soft, underfoot it’s rocky and covered in high, sharp weeds. There’s no visible trail and we don’t have the right shoes this night.
After a few minutes of exploring, we add the climb to the list for another day and load back up.
The gentle conversation about “wonderings” resumes and my heart is bursting full- of who they are and what they think. The profound gleams in the midst of all the ordinary.