August 3, 2018 Eric Blauer

Learning to be astonished

I have been trying to put into words what I was feeling after encountering this Moose outside our house. I have heard plenty of stories about the dangers of these large animals and how they can pummel and prance you into a pancake if they were so inclined, and supposedly, they often are. Yet, I had no fear when I walked up to the area where he was trying to hide, it was all excitement.

Now, if you know the adult Blauers, you know we are not all that excitable, it takes quite a bit to provoke us to glee, well, near impossible really. We can laugh, joke, and enjoy many things, but it takes a fairly large injection of wonderment to move us to say we are excited. But standing there I was more than excited, I was caught up in a full blown, it’s Christmas morning, presents under the tree, rush of childlike giddiness. I was astonished!

In some ways it was quite humorous, moving up to about 15 feet from his “hiding spot” and seeing him peeking out through the trees and bushes. I wanted to laugh and say, “Found you!” like we were playing ‘hide n’ seek’. The average adult Moose stands 6 feet tall at the shoulder and can weigh as much as 1,400 pounds and this guy was around that, and yet, there he was trying to be so stealthy.

For a moment, I was absolutely mesmerized, like that scene in Jurassic Park when paleontologist Alan Grant is in the Jeep and stops, fumbles off his glasses, as he sees the massive, tree chomping Brontosaurus for the first time.

It felt almost prehistoric, looking at that massive, glorious rack of velvet like horns. It’s such an utterly primal display of masculine magnificence to behold.

When the spell broke, I realized I had absolutely nothing between him and I to protect me if he decided I was a threat or nuisance, so I ran off to the house praying I could get my camera before he took off.

Luckily he decided to stay long enough for me to return as he cantered off to the eastside of our property. This section is my favorite part, because of it’s lush, open area that is perfect for gazing upon such a beast. He stopped, and kept looking at me below and LeeElla watching from up above him. Back and forth he would tilt his head, calmly allowing us to admire his kingly self, it was absolute, pure…wonder.

After he finally decided he had enough of us gawking, he strolled off to the upper woods and left us high fiving and chattering like chipmunks.

Such a moment, leaves you with a lot of thoughts, especially at my age, when your starting to get loose from the mid-life blindness to mesmerizing moments. There’s a space of time when the duties of life seem to work double time to eclipse the desires of life. It’s a fever that for me, started really breaking at the birth of my first grandchild.

Grandparenting is like finding Narnia again. The animals start talking once more, the trees move and gods dwell in the rivers again, and it seems like life gets re-enchanted.

Astonishment.

That’s the word that captures what I have been feeling over and over in this season of life.

Below is a poem, that captures exactly what I have been thinking and feeling. I hope these words hang over my moments more and more and that the joy and gratitude that’s been invading my prayers…becomes the tone of my soul.

MESSENGER by Mary Oliver

My work is loving the world.

Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird —

equal seekers of sweetness.

Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.

Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?

Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me

keep my mind on what matters,

which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be

astonished.

The phoebe, the delphinium.

The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.

Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,

which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart

and these body-clothes,

a mouth with which to give shouts of joy

to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,

telling them all, over and over, how it is

that we live forever.

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About the Author

Eric Blauer I am barbarian, sage, saint, bard, husband and father. Bow my knee to only One, serve all, ruled by none.

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