Find Your Sense of Wonder

In the fast paced world we live in, it’s easy to take things for granted: sunrises over the ocean, sunsets over the lake, falling waters, laughter and the wonder of the out of doors.  We get our news in sound bites and social media designed for a quick glance. Then there are the day-to-day routines of work, school and life.  With all of these distractions and the ability to easily see amazing places and events without leaving the comfort of your couch, it’s no wonder that we lost our sense of well… wonder.

If you think that you may have lost your sense of wonder I have some spots for you to check out this spring!

Earlier in March I attended the archaeology program at Hampton Plantation along with many other friends and visitors who came with a thirst for information about South Carolina’s history. The brick foundation of a slave cabin was the focus of the excavation and has helped us develop stories and interpretation for the entire site, not just the families that lived in the mansion. The excavation work also provides a sense of wonder for each visitor, as they are able to see tangible evidence of our history.  Touching an object that has not been touched in 200 years connects you to a site like no computer screen could. You can feel history and get that sense of wonder we so long for today. 

Wonder is not just in history- it can be found in the natural world as well. While on the coast I took advantage of a Myrtle Beach sunrise- amazing.  Then I headed to Huntington Beach for a routine visit before traveling back home.  Once on the park you cannot help but consumed by the beauty and wonder of this special place. The nature center was suspiciously busy near the window facing the marsh so like any curious park ranger, I went to see what the all fuss was about.  A spotting scope was focused on two magnificent Bald Eagles perched and watching their fledglings who were eager for a meal. I know you may have seen eagle cams on the internet but seeing this in “real life” provides you with a sense of wonder that is unmatched. Questions abound: how far is the nest from here, which eagle is the male and which is the female, when will the babies fly away? There are at least five different state parks where the answers to these questions and bald eagle nests can be found, so go explore our parks and wonder!

This spring will be filled with wonder: wildflowers popping up on what was just recently barren dirt, birds that seem to sing a little louder and with a sense of purpose and little things like campfires, starry nights and setting up camp. It’s spring time in Carolina! So just what is a sense of wonder?  According to the dictionary, it’s the feeling of awakening or awe triggered by an expansion of one’s awareness of what is possible. It’s those wow moments. Those moments that bring us to tears or to laughter. It’s in the memories that last a lifetime. It’s the lilies at Landsford Canal and the Oconee Bells at Devils Fork. It’s spoonbills, eagles and wood storks. It’s falling water and fallings stars. It’s lake winds and ocean breezes.  It’s those moments that awaken us like the smells of bacon in the campground and for just a moment remind us that we never have to grow up… well not this weekend anyway!

See you in the parks!

Phil