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Returning to a Sense of Wonder - by Sam Kruguer

Posted by lindsaybarden | May 17, 2016

“Isn't it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive--it's such an interesting world. It wouldn't be half so interesting if we know all about everything, would it? There'd be no scope for imagination then, would there?

-L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

L.M. Montgomery’s fantastically whimsical book, Anne of Green Gables, although told from the perspective of an 11-year-old girl, speaks truth to all ages. Through Anne Shirley’s sincere and questioning demeanor, we learn the deep importance of viewing our surroundings through child-like eyes to discover the wonder and amazement that it can bring. Anne’s fascination with the world that encompasses her is untainted by the troubles that come from that same world. Her exuberant imagination gives a living and breathing quality to the natural world. As adults, Anne’s fancies may seem silly or irrational and to be sure that’s what most of the other adults in the book thought too, which only goes to show that we lose our sense of wonder as we grow older. As adults we naturally become more aware of the world beyond our own and the flawed people in it, but with this expansion comes the abatement of our imagination. We believe that we have grown older and wiser, but in reality we have stifled our ability to see the winsomeness of this world and have squelched our sense of hope in making a difference. Rachel Carson speaks of this dilemma in her wonderfully illustrated book, The Sense of Wonder, in whichshe states,

“A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is unfortunate that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood. If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantments of later years, the sterile preoccupation with the things that are artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength.”  

Perhaps Anne is the wisest of us all, because she realizes in her own way that finding out is what life is all about. For me, the exploration of the natural world means acquiring a brief glimpse of the nature of our Heavenly Father, a loving creator who delights in His creation. If we knew all the answers of this universe than doesn’t that mean that we don’t need God, but because we don’t know all the answers we are pushed to continually pursue God through His creation. Scripture clearly states that Jesus has a heart for children, which makes complete sense when you understand the pure way in which they view the world for all its wonder and hopeful possibilities. Au Sable Institute is truly a rare gem, especially the environmental education program. Where else can you take students and parents/teachers back in time to learn about Michigan History or spend part of the day around Louie’s Pond for the sole purpose of collecting a diverse array of insects? By exploring nature with child-like eyes that is with a sense of wonder and awe we can begin to unearth God’s very nature and take delight in His creation as well as the fact that he has placed us as stewards over it. I believe that if Anne Shirley were one of the students to come to Au Sable she would affirmatively proclaim, with a toss of her long red braids and hands on hips, “there is plenty of scope for the imagination here!”