142 Comments
May 19Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

My three kids. Wonder embodied.

My students.

The garter snake that I disturbed yesterday.

The bedded dear I disturbed this morning.

The Foliage surrounding my domicile —Dogwood, Japanese maple, magnolia, rose of Sharron, lilac, apple, birch, maple, and oak leaf hydrangea.

Me, harbinger of death to the tiny spider I accidentally killed, which reminded me of perspective and scale and the unforeseen consequences of our actions.

The beaten path I ran early this morning by torchlight, a path created by humans but made of millennia of a changing nature that will out-exist me.

Me—consciousness that stretches backward and forward, held together by something I know not what.

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John O’Donohue states: “The graced eye can glimpse beauty anywhere, for beauty does not reserve itself for special elite moments or instances; it does not wait for perfection but is present already secretly in everything. When we beautify our gaze, the grace of hidden beauty becomes our joy and our sanctuary.” Jonathan, you truly have graced eyes!

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Thank you for that from John O'Donohue!

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“The bedded dear,” could it be the misspelling is actually correct? 😉

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Haha could be. Perhaps this is one of those happy coincidences resultant from AI?

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Jonathan, yay!! I applaud you. Because I was thinking there is no one thing, it is in EVERY thing that wonder exists. And then I thought I can't write ANY thing because how could I? And then you went and did it! Hence, the applause. Thank you for being a tender, thoughtful Soul! XO

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I have the exact same impulse as you—How could I write about what instills wonder in me, because it’s EVERYTHING!! Then I tried to just focus on the first thing that came to my mind, eg, kids—my life is consumed with their unbridled curiosity and complete disregard for the adult time frame. The natural world, my students, and of course esoteric philosophical questions 😆

Always, Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Danielle.

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Time is odd. Lol. We have all the things that we need to get done, as adults and fill in the blank: employees, neighbors, parents, members of society, and on and on. But None of it really matters to the cosmos or to kids (both of which are expanding bundles of unfathomable chaos, the latter ostensibly cuter than the former).

And the “why?” questions; I love and hate them, for that very reason that they collide with my timeframe at the most in opportune moments. we just need to enjoy them for what they are, and remember that we won’t get these moments back.

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I love this! And I adore that you wrote, "complete disregard for the adult time frame," because I know we've had many "discussions" about this in the past. Tee hee. It IS a wonder that their unbridled curiosity always collides, rather violently, with our, the adults, time frame. How many times has your time frame been found a total loss? I say with a giggle and a prayer, parent to parent.

I can imagine those esoteric philosophical questions of your students, being a teacher myself. Like that most pervasive one, "Why?"

Thanks for always "bringing it," my friend!! XO

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May 19Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

There is so much wonder out my window this morning, as the hundred shades of green emerge to create the shades of summer, above the multitude of garden flowers in their various states of colored progression. Mostly though, I sit with coffee in front of an almost superfluous fire, although it is fifty degrees out here on the Maine coast, and watch the ospreys in the nest, guarding eggs for the next generation. It’s always a surprise to see them the first day back, knowing where they’ve been, kind of, and that they return to the same nest, maybe. Last year we had three chicks fledge,a surprise awaiting us for this season.

Thanks Padraig for a full week last week and for providing a soft landing on this almost summer Sunday morning.

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Yes, “a soft landing.”

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May 19Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

This past Friday, I was privileged to participate as a faculty member of our school's chamber choir - learning so much from these student musicians. Often when I'm at such student events, my eyes "leak" as I am touched by the beauty, courage & vulnerability of these young people as they share their discovered joy in the arts, as they exhibit peer leadership & encouragement of one another. I was particularly impressed by the senior young men members of the choir as they quietly & effectively in the dark aisles directed the transition to the stage of the younger male chorus while the chorale director was introducing the next piece. I was also touched (after having sung our piece "United in Purpose" with the chamber choir - thank you, Maya Angelou!) in the high fives offered from the student choir members as we exited the stage; our collaboration had embodied what is possible when different groups work together in common purpose. So glad I am in a profession where I can catch glimpses and be on the frontline of hope.

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As a young musician like the ones who brought you wonder, I agree with you deeply. I think there is something to be said about how powerful music is that someone on the outside is able to sense that joy. I find there are very few things in life which allow people to portray so much community and combined passion. Even within the arts there really aren’t too many opportunities to display yourself in such a raw way like a performance of music can, be it solo or in an ensemble.

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May 19Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

This week, my pockets were heavy with mottled purse crabs, sharks teeth, slippersnails, a mermaid's purse, spiny jewelboxes, green sea glass, a baby's ear, and an auger. The washed up horseshoe crab with a fat barnacle on its back surprised me with a wriggle when I lifted him. I waded out into the waves and gave him a nudge. Meanwhile, sandpipers scuttled and pecked, sand fleas burrowed, and dolphins trailed the shrimp boats, eager for scraps. It's sea turtle season and by Friday, there were seven nests at the base of the dunes—each one marked by wooden stakes and caution tape. The Atlantic spits out treasures every day, insisting I walk mindfully & slow—a salty remedy, inviting wonder whether it's high tide or low.

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It makes me so happy to see the contents of your mermaid pockets, Jenny! And a great big thank you for rescuing the horseshoe crab—one of my favorite creatures on earth! Please let me know if you witness any turtle hatchlings during your slow & mindful strolls ;)

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Lisa-you KNOW I will;-).

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Oh my word, Jenny, your pockets speak my love language. Well, one of them anyway. Coffee is another one. I am multilingual for sure. You wrote a poem, yes? Because the start of your reply reads like a poem. A poem I can't wait to read... Love, love, love!!!! this reply. Thank you. XO

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Thanks so much, Danielle! I admittedly thought of Michael Longley and his Ice Cream Man poem as I listed the names of these irresistible shells:). Whenever I flip through field guides with the scientific names alongside the common ones, I delight in the "accidental" poetry at play. xo

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They certainly are irresistible and wonder-ful!! Thank you, Jenny!! XO

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May 19Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

Wonder is always flowing water. If I can, I will stand near a creek or a river after a rainstorm for hours. The sound of the rushing water, the sinuous and potentially dangerous currents rippling before my eyes, spark intense reverie.

Last year I stood on the banks of the Alabama River near the riverboat where a black man was attacked by a group of white people, only to be rescued by a group of black passersby. It was a spectacular media story. But as I stood there watching the setting sun descend behind trees on the opposite shore, all I wanted was the river. It engorged, brown body, had breached the banks and I swear I could hear it breath as it flowed by carrying away fallen trees and hiding secrets beneath the breakers. I recall my co-workers would ask if I was ok, and that I could barely reply, because in that moment I was Langston Hughes’ negro whose soul had grown deep like the river.

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"...all I wanted was the river." I feel this way every day, Sean. Thank you for sharing your "intense reverie" and all that it carries.

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You moved me to silence with your powerful imagery and thoughts, Sean. Thanks for your sharing.

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May 19Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

What sustains such wonder for you? Your grandson, freshly new and folded in the skins of himself? Your garden? Your text message from a friend? Your favourite book? Your mayor? Your teacher?

Oh! So many memories over the years of moments of wonder!

Touching and holding close to the body a newborn baby just pushed into a world of breath and light, the sound in the wee hours of the morning, still dark outside, of the robin singing, the sound in the spring of the peepers croaking near where the trail in the morning looking for a mate, the look of wonder on the face of my partner as he gazed at the wonder of the Grand Canyon, the feeling of finishing a book or poem, even a quote, acknowledging the wonder that someone said or wrote or thought such truths from anywhere and everywhere and anytime and still it feels like truth.

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Oh! the spring peepers!

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May 19Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

Nearly every morning I walk in a small nature center which is both a little less than half a mile from my home and the NJ entrance to the George Washington bridge. Sometimes I see one of the resident foxes. One in particular has a coat that weaves brown and red and ends with a beautiful white bushy tail. I see a lot of deer, young does and bucks with antlers budding. And because people are nature too - I meet my walking friends, some barefoot, one who loves to hug trees. There are smiles and sometimes shock. No, you are not alone. Any of you (channeling Mary Oliver.) No matter how lonely you may feel, there is a fox, a young buck, a poet in Pittsburgh listening to birdsong and a child in a war zone for whom you are family.

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“We carry within us the wonders we seek without us.”

Thomas Browne

Probably a work in progress...

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May 19·edited May 20Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

For the past year or so, we have driven by this park in our neighborhood and there is this old guy, snow white beard, baseball cap on backwards, yellow old school Nike's, doing pull ups. My son nicknamed him, 'The Grunter'. ('The Grunter' 'grunts-out' quite a few pull ups) We are always on 'Grunter' look out. 'Do you see him, do you see him'? 'Yeah, there he is'! 'The Grunter' has become a creature of myth in our household. We challenge each other with, 'Oh, I bet 'The Grunter' could do it' - this could be from doing push ups to pulling weeds or figuring a hard math problem.

As of last week I had never met 'The Grunter'. I was in the grocery store going through the cherry bin, I looked up and who else was buying cherries? 'The Grunter'! It felt like a celebrity citing - I felt myself flush a bit. So I introduced myself and told 'The Grunter' our story and we laughed and listened. I found out 'The Grunter's' name is Doug and he is 82. He can do 10 pull ups and has piercing blue kind eyes and a warm easy voice. He gave me a hug and then finished weighing his cherries. Like your Skylark Padráig, 'Doug the Grunter' is a wonder.

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This made me laugh, Toby. I love it when strangers take on mythic proportions. The amazing thing here? The Grunter lived up to the hype!!!! And that, my friend, was the cherry on top;-).

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How marvelous!!! I am absolutely delighted that meeting the myth only enhanced the wonder that he is. Lovely. XO

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What a joyful story, Tob! I've got a huge smile as I imagine witnessing this meeting over the cherry bin—how wonderful and fulfilling this encounter must have been!

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May 19·edited May 19Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

What sustains wonder?

Rain drops suspended on oak leaf and

on my sweet old dog’s black undercoat

Small ponds that form in above-ground tree roots

Petrichor, the aroma of earth and rain

Rolling rumble of thunder

Unexpected volume of raindrops pelting magnolia leaves

The wet season.

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ah.. Petrichor.. I knew there had to be word for that aroma of earth and rain. ;-)

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Wonderful! Thanks, Karen.

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Pádraig, I love the sentiment you shared this morning, “I hope a poem can point us to enough that wonder begins to inform the way we point at each other.” I wrote this short poem a few years back on Valentine’s Day celebrating my wife and the wonder of love.

love birds

flying high

and wide

in the open sky

landing on their perch

softly

deliberately

one next to the other

Last evening, I was reading Henri Nouwen’s marvelous little book “The Return of the Prodigal Son” (which was inspired by Rembrandt’s painting of the powerful gospel parable). I was particularly struck by Nouwen’s reflections on joy: “This is a real discipline. It requires choosing for the light even when there is much darkness to frighten me, choosing for life even when the forces of death are so visible, and choosing for the truth even when I am surrounded with lies. I am tempted to be so impressed by the obvious sadness of the human condition that I no longer claim the joy manifesting itself in many small but very real ways. The reward of choosing joy is joy itself. Living among people with mental disabilities has convinced me of that. There is so much rejection, pain, and woundedness among us, but once you choose to claim the joy hidden in the midst of all suffering, life becomes celebration. Joy never denies the sadness, but transforms it to a fertile soil for more joy.”

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Incredible. Thank you for this, this morning Michael.

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May 19Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

Wonder at the Disappearance

As an old man….

like the clouds that disappear

into the expansive sky

I, too, will disappear quietly

—Kosho Uchiyama’s, Opening the Hand of Thought

Surrendering into the experience of one’s dying, resistance ceases, no longer in charge. The surrender is so compelling that fear doesn’t stop us. The wave surrenders to the ocean.

—Frank Ostaseski

We create sacred space as a guiding principle when our presence is requested to sit at the bedside of one who is dying. This holding, honoring, loving space turns sacred.

Sacred is found within the mirroring of human souls forming a unity to hold moment to moment truth of another’s passing with clear unfettered reflection and dignity.

A Clear Light Practice: Listen, listen for the other’s breath and simply synch with your breath. Clear the mind of thought while opening to the breath of the other. The final breath of the dying one will arrive, then silence, stillness. Your presence holds this holy passage.

I have followed this practice with beloveds time and time again. Honoring the sacred in life’s last transition. Staying with the stillness of a body no longer known, breath gone.

And yet, I am stilled with wonder when it will be my turn. The one who is reaching that pinnacle of the last breath, then done. One more disappearance .

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Mmmm. And quietly, I wonder, who will match your breath, when you find yourself on your last bed? Or will your breath return to the rhythm of a loved one, who waits? Thanks for sharing. This is beautiful! Thank you for your service, for being a warm, loving hand to hold as you walk others over the threshold into their new forever homes. XO

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Danielle,

Re crossing death’s threshold:

thank you for your wondering if my/yours/another’s last breath will be joined by another at the bedside along with opening the possibility in death one might “return to the rhythm of one who waits.”

This brings comfort to any vestiges of longing for union/reunion. So appreciated.

As is your tenderness.

XO

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Sweet Juju, again quietly, I suggest you can have a union/reunion any time you want. Energy remains, just in a different form. It seems all there is to do is return to that shared breath and wonder in that. Our beautiful breath holds so much more than simply life. XO

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Danielle, energy and breath go beyond time and place; your reminder of this shared mystery again captures my heart 💜 Blessings…

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What sustains Wonder in the world for me? You would think that would be an easy question to answer but really, if you think about it seriously, it is not.

I think my Wonder is sustained by my dogs that I have had over the years and unfortunately do not have any more due to my living accommodations. They are like humans but better. They offer unconditional love. They are there for everything when we need them. The greatest when we come home and sit until we come back when we leave.

They ask nothing of us. I love to play and get a pet on the head and they sit at our feet as we work at a desk. They are wonderful beings who look into your eyes with pure love and affection. For me they are wonders.

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I wish you could somehow be with animals at this stage in your life, for I am sure they must miss you too. Domestic animals are usually looking for the simple love and companionship you describe, which is as you say, so unconditional. They do not argue or break our silences with their presence. You sound like an animal lover, for sure!

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Thank you Shelley. I wish the same.

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May 19Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

While hiking on the Appalachian Trail near Unicoi, Tennessee two weeks ago a fluorescent salamander, an Eastern Newt, scurried across the trail in front of me. The contrast between the all orange amphibian and the green grass was so compelling that I was caught in wonder by the tiny creature living safely (the bright color is a toxic warning sign keeping predators at bay) in such a vast environment.

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May 19·edited May 19Liked by Pádraig Ó Tuama

That little thing called love combined with the long warbled song of my own ancient underpinnings that I mistook for hormones when I was young, drives me through all my passions. They have drawn me like abstract art into a life of living color, the world of others and nature. Through passions and compassions and emotions of anger and frustration and heartache and unbreachable joys there they are with me.

They drive my wonder and each year i marvel more at their absolute stubbornness at staying with me through all of it all.

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On wonder:

My mother’s garden.

Spring blooms unfolding toward the light.

Hands, gripped tight.

My breath, and another’s, connected across the miles between us.

The wind, by the sea,

washing away all thought

of you or me

And leaving only this

Bliss

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