I’ve seen things…

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time… like tears in rain… Time to die.” – Roy, “Blade Runner”

Of all the qualities I find hard to understand in my fellow humans, one that’s especially baffling is incuriosity. The universe is such a vast and amazing place, and we each have so little time in which to take it all in… how could anyone not want to soak in as much of nature’s wonders as possible?

Children, of course, are naturally curious. Curiosity is the impetus that drives their learning about the world: What happens when I drop this egg? What does a dog think? Why am I right-handed but he prefers his left hand? Why is the sky blue?

So many questions. We all had them at some point. But for some of us, sometime in our early years, that curiosity faded, as did the sense of wonder.

Which is why yesterday’s total solar eclipse across the U.S. was such a joy. News broadcasts, social media posts and photos from coast to coast showed kids and grownups of all ages taking a break from their normal daily activities to go outside, don cheap, silly-looking glasses — if not welders’ helmets or boxes with pinholes — and stare at the Sun as it changed from bright disk to crescent to blotted-out corona. And almost every image showed them doing so with child-like grins of delight. The eclipse was special and amazing and wonderful and just so cool.

Surprisingly, there were tears too. My favorite moment was when The Weather Channel’s Stephanie Abrams had just watched the totality end in Madras, Oregon, took off her glasses to begin wrapping up the moment and was suddenly speechless, choking with emotion. She didn’t know why she was so emotional, she said… she just was.

I’ll admit I shared those tears. And I suspect many others did as well. A brief glimpse of nature’s all-too-often ignored grandeur — a peek at God, if you will, whatever God might mean to you — especially while in the company of millions of your fellow humans, can do that.

Hold onto such moments, if you can. Because wonder and curiosity are not just for children, as yesterday’s little miracle showed. They enrich the mind and the soul, and draw us together in good ways, when far too many other things pull us apart. We need more of these moments… many, many more.

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