It is a great tragedy to me that adults only recognize a sense of wonder and the joys of wonder in children after they have lost it in their own lives. I have resolved to make every effort to maintain my sense of wonder. I have also resolved to use the word “wonderful” in my writing only to describe that which actually fills me with wonder. When I say wonder, I want to be specific in what I mean. The Oxford Dictionary defines wonder thusly: “a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.”
The challenge in maintaining wonder as people move into adulthood comes in those last three words. As people get older, coming by something unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable becomes less and less likely. The solution here is twofold. The first is to always strive to learn and discover more. The second was perhaps best described by LaVey in the 9th Satanic Sin, Lack of Aesthetics. He says “an eye for beauty, for balance, is an essential Satanic tool and must be applied for greatest magical effectiveness,” and a sense of wonder is quite the magical feeling. This latter solution is where most of my wonder comes from. I constantly seek to find beautiful places in the world, whether man made or not and they become “sacred” to me. One of my favorites outside of my own home is what I call “The Alley of Light” in a city near me. I plan to post a photo of it on my Facebook page in the near future.
The Alley of Light is a small, quiet spot in the historic downtown area of a town near me. The main roads of this town converge at right angles, with historic 2 story buildings. These buildings are storefronts of local businesses at street level, each separated by doorways to 2nd level apartments. It is very charming, and the storefronts often act like a wall against the main road they are situated on. One unique block is “walled” on three sides, resulting in a wide pair of allies that connect in a T. Rather than let these two relatively quiet areas fill with garbage, the businesses that comprise the outer walls collectively decided to provide tables, chairs, and beautiful plants for the pedestrians that happen to see the alley, and white fairy lights are strung in a canopy overhead. I have never run into other people here, it never feels commercialized. Every time I visit, it feels almost like I have stepped into some pocket dimension that only belongs to me, where tranquility and content are sprayed like Febreze just. Sharing this space with another makes for a very romantic date, if only for a moment. It is truly wonderful, and I take visits there as a retreat. To learn about why it is, who is involved in its maintenance specifically, or overpopulate it decreases the wonder. I plan to write more on wonderful places in the future, and I encourage you to send me some of your favorite wonderful places. Ask yourself, how often do you feel wonder, and are you satisfied with your answer?