September 17, 2020 by Dymphna

When she won the Nobel Prize… with magic

These tough times are squeezing the wonder out of us. But we can’t let go.

This is a tough time to find the magic in the world.

I mean that kinda literally actually. If you’re locked down in your house, it’s hard to connect with the things that normally fill your days with wonder.

But I think this is something we have to hold on to. When we lose our sense of wonder, life gets a bit hard.

When you can’t see the magic anymore, it just feels like you’re living in some mammoth, heartless machine – that you’re trapped in the whirring gears of a universe that just couldn’t give a rat’s about you.

It’s just random atoms smooshing into each other. Seasons punched into a time card. People you love getting old and dying just to make way for the next people to get old and die.

This is tough. This is a tough way to view the world. I mean, what’s even the point?

So I think we have to stay alive to wonder. We have to stay alive to magic.

And when I say magic, I don’t mean unicorns and fairies – though if you want believe in that I’m not going to stop you sweetheart.

I mean staying alive to the magic that is all around us – not hiding under rocks or behind waterfalls, but right there  – in the way spring calls every flower on every tree in your street into blossom all at once… Or that orchestrates the courting rituals of spiders… Or that writes the inspired play of small children.

That magic. Those things, that when you really stop and ‘see’ them, fill you with wonder.

In that way, we need to try and see the world through the eyes of a poet.

And not one of those sad an angsty cafe poets. But a poet like Wislawa Szymborska, who won the Nobel Prize for poetry in the 1970s.

In her acceptance speech, she said that there’s no such thing as an ‘ordinary life’, or the ‘ordinary course of events’.

“Whatever else we might think of this world—it is astonishing.

Nothing is usual or normal. Not a single stone and not a single cloud above it. Not a single day and not a single night after it. And above all, not a single existence, not anyone’s existence in this world.”

I try to hold on to this.

When you stop seeing wondering the world, you stop seeing wonder in your own life – you stop seeing the bizarre miracle that you own existence actually is.

Not to give you a big head or anything (though you are pretty awesome, let’s be honest), but you’re amazing. The life you have is amazing. The rice bubbles you had for breakfast, the music on the radio, the flowers by the bus stop, the sunlight in the clouds – it’s all amazing.

There’s a discipline here. We can’t let ourselves get complacent. We spend a lot of time looking at the world through the eyes of an engineer, but we have to make time for seeing through the eyes of a poet too.

We have to remember to look for magic.

Because it is everywhere when you look.