Today I’d like to try and make the case for why learning how to be almost perpetually surprised is an excellent Druidic virtue to cultivate.
We all get complacent about things, and the smaller and more familiar something is, the easier it can be to become complacent. Our most immediate environment and the people we spend most time with may be most vulnerable to this. These are in practice the things that matter most, which is why we get stories like the Wizard of Oz trying to remind us to treasure what’s on our own doorstep.
There are wonders everywhere. It is all too easy to imagine that magic, sacredness, wonder and delight happen some other place, and aren’t generally available. Nature is also too easily perceived as being out there somewhere you are not. All four elements are present in your kitchen. They are also present in your own body. Nature will sneak into your carpet, and is most assuredly right outside your door.
Even the most familiar views are subject to constant change. The exact way the light falls can entirely re-create a scene. Most of my view as I type this, is of a tree. I’ve watched its leaves fatten and unfurl. It has flowered, and now it’s underway with seed cases. Come the autumn there will be colours, then bare branches. Birds visit it, squirrels cavort in it and no two day are quite the same.
Being willing to be surprised opens us to the small beauties around us and gives us more to appreciate. Tiny jewels of insects in the grass. The scent of rain. The shape of a cloud. Stopping to really look at the people we spend most time with, to notice and appreciate them rather than taking them for granted opens the heart, pouring life into relationships. Take anything for granted and you will lose some of its magic.
So, I invite you to try a thing… Go forth today with wide eyed expectation. Step out as though you were walking into a fantasy world, into a mythic landscape or a heroic story. Be as attentive as you would be if you thought there could be faeries amongst the trees and the possibility of glimpsing unicorns. Be as open, and as willing to love what you see as if you had entered the most magical, mystical of ancient Pagan landscapes.
Because you have.
It’s all still out there, one way or another.