Home > Life, Writing and Poetry > Amazement In Small Doses

Amazement In Small Doses

I try to take amazement in small doses each day. Such a practice keeps the heart ticking without fear of an overdose of excitement. It also allows a body to stop long enough to appreciate those things which would otherwise be overlooked.

Take this morning, for instance. The sun was shining as if it had just been let out of prison and had to rejoice for the world. I looked out the window to enjoy it because it’s been rather gloomy and gray around this part of the world for the last several days.

That’s when it hit me. If I live to be a thousand years old, it will never cease to amaze me at how fast the sun’s position can shift from the northeast in the morning sky during high summer to the sky’s southeast during November.

Think about it. For the solar system to work in such a way along with the rotation of the Earth, that the sun’s position can make such a marvelous change in it’s appearance is amazing. Of course, the Moon does much the same thing for much the same reasons, but we don’t pay much attention to how it hangs in the sky. The only time we really pay attention to it is if it’s hanging up there, full and glorious, during the daytime.

Or, what about standing under a clear blue sky and have snowflakes falling gently to the ground. Where do they come from if there aren’t visible clouds over your location?

How about the fact that a person can hear electricity running through power lines? What really makes them hum like that?

I got to thinking about those sounds which make me cringe. For some it’s nails on a chalkboard. I hate that sound, too, but there are worse for me. An electric heater humming or a florescent light fixture’s hum. A motorcycle, especially the lesser beasts with smaller engines, make me want to rip it to shreds. I think it’s the pitch that infuriates me so much.

I do have a physical reaction to some sounds. Most people do.

The question is, why do we have a physical response at all? Is it the pitch, the sound’s frequency, DB level, an unpleasant childhood experience?

Of course, the same holds true for other stimuli. Why do some sights, sounds, or smells elicit pleasurable responses? I can understand kitchen odors such as fresh-baked bread or desserts and such. My mom was a great cook.

Other smells, like that of hospitals, also bring some people to near tears. There are emotional ties for everyone to particular odors. That’s been proven. Yet, certain sights and sounds bring a sense of peace with them.

Pictures and sounds of the sea have been used for decades to calm and refresh the mind and body. Some researchers profess that this response hails back to our primordial, genetic memory. Personally, I don’t buy that explanation. I think it comes from the susurration of the surf and it’s resemblance to a mother’s whispering shush when the baby wakes frightened and disoriented. That shush sound comes with warm comforting arms, many times.

Watching the surf has much the same effect, I think. The hypnotic repetition of the waves making their way to shore and running up the sand calms the watcher because of the regularity of the movement as much as sound. Even breakers have their own regularity and effect.

So, what does this have to do with amazement in small doses, you ask? Take the initiative to watch yourself today. If you hear someone laugh in pure delight/enjoyment, do you smile, too? If you see someone slip and fall, do you cringe from imagined pain? If there’s an incident on the road where you almost get clipped or see someone else almost have an accident, do you start to sweat, too?

If so, these examples are each a tiny bit of amazement. Your body and mind, for whatever reason, has been conditioned through genetics, evolution or simple personal experience and history to react to the situation. Whether or not you want to be connected to the world and all things within it is irrelevant. You are connected at such a deep level that you cannot prevent your own reactions many times.

Don’t you find that amazing?

And if you’re a writer and asking yourself these questions, what answers will your characters come up with for you? They are all powerful, you know.

If  you come up with answers to any of these questions, or if you come up with some new questions, feel free to drop in and put them in a comment for everyone to ponder. Who knows, maybe we’ll solve the world’s greatest problems between us.

Until then, a bientot,


  1. November 28, 2010 at 6:26 am

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