Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Weekend in California

This weekend, Allen asked if I was going to blog about visiting his family in California.  So now, I suppose I'm obligated to do so.  Lucky for me, there was plenty of wonderfully ordinary yet perfectly enlightening moments.  Let's put it this way:  Allen's half-siblings are 3 and 5 years old, meaning I spent nearly all my time with them.

Childlike wonder is the most perfect example of the notion of "Ordinary Renaissance."  As a child, everything is new and exciting, and the world is this big, amazing thing just waiting to be unraveled and understood.  As an adult, we tend to see things as commonplace.  Even when we learn or discover something new, it's typically an addendum to something we knew before; a new recipe for an exotic food may be totally unheard of, but it's still a recipe, which we have experience with and know will yield delicious results.

But spending time with those two kids reminded me how amazing the world can be.  Kids constantly repeat things back to you, trying out the feeling of a new phrase on their tongue.  There were many times I'd say something, simply as a statement, and I'd have it (or certain words) repeated back to me--but said with the air of testing the waters, and with a tone of awe.

I always try to take a step back, and look at things from fresh eyes, but that's nearly impossible to do.  Unless something truly is new, how can you "pretend" it's new-- since a new experience is defined by "newness," in the first place.  So maybe instead, I should focus on the beauty of things, and how extraordinarily our world works.  Kids don't understand the world, since it's new to them, and are so easily entertained and enthralled by every little idea and sound and object and feeling.  In the same way, I should be able to appreciate even the smallest of things, not because they are new, but because they really are amazing.  After all, why do we lose that sense of wonderment as we grow up?  Simply through experience.  We expect something, because we've experienced it before, and are no longer amazed by the outcome.  But why?  There's absolutely no reason to lose a sense of amazement (or, at the very least, appreciation) simply because we think we understand something.

All in all, the weekend was a good reminder to stop taking things so seriously and appreciating the wonder in life.  After all, what will wonder and amazement hurt?  Those kids were so much fun, no matter how much pain I'm in now (let's just say I was a human jungle gym).

In any case, Allen and I took a million photos.  We have a nice new camera, so we fully used that to our advantage and played around with all the neat things it can do.  Unfortunately, they aren't on the computer yet-- so you just get a couple quick photos I took with my phone.

Leaving San Fransisco

Baby plane!

Clouds over San Fransisco

Mt. Rainier, flying to California

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