I can’t stop saying wow

I almost tripped again running this week in the morning, and I realized there’s a reason I so often stumble on the ground.  It’s because I am so often so dazzled by the morning sky.  The grayish clouds grew pink, lit from below by the rising sun.  As I ran my head and heart thrummed with “Wow, wow, wow.”

I can’t stop saying wow.

I wish there was a more articulate, more elegant word than “wow” to describe the soul-stirring sense of awe that sweeps over me multiple times a day.  In the last few months I’ve found this in the skyfire of sunset and in the glow of the moon rising, in the nests in bare trees, in the sudden, noisy song of dozens of sparrows even though I can’t see them, in the long shadows of my daughter’s eyelashes against her sleeping cheeks, in the words of poets and writers too numerous to mention.

Does this constant wow contradict the low note of lamentation that plays constantly in my life?  I don’t actually think so.  Maybe remaining open to the wow necessitates a permeability of spirit that means I’m also open to a certain sorrow.  These are the two edges of the world’s beauty that Virginia Woolf described, anguish and laughter springing from the same single truth.  I suspect I’m just joining my voice to an ancient chorus here, kneeling in supplication among a swirling sea of humanity.  And we all whisper the same thing under our breath:


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  1. Posted April 3, 2012 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    I think I have always been like this too, but have never been able to articulate it, or, really, accept it as you do. Yesterday, I was “wowed” by what the clouds were doing, and I felt tears behind my eyes much of the day, as I cleared my house of toys that were for kids younger than mine, remembering the times, just the day before, when we played with those same toys all the time. Instead of realizing I could have been “joining my voice to an ancient chorus”, I kept chiding myself for being so sensitive to the silliest of things.

  2. KH Macomber
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Oh, oh, oh! you and me both. I’ve made my peace with the Fresh Pond denizens who don’t want to make eye contact, but the ones who actively peer down at the pavement as they shuffle by, those I want to shake by the shoulders and say,”Look up! You’re missing all the good stuff!” Like you, I have a vast collection of cloud photos on my cell phone. I’m the one constantly looking up at soaring hawks, curious contrails, weather on the move. And yes, I’m the one who has tumbled, more than once, on the tree roots pushing up though the pavement, when I’m distracted by something skyward.

    One of my favorite moments of the day only happens when I’m up in time to see the pink morning sun kissing William James Hall–one of the all-time ugly buildings in our fair city, but glorious when the first light of day glows on its long white facade. Who was it that said, “Light never knew how good it was, until it hit a wall”? That was the effect they were talking about.

    Here’s to all the looker-uppers. Wow indeed.

  3. Posted April 3, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    I say “Holy Wow” a lot 🙂