A few days ago, I managed to catch up with an old friend who I had known since kindergarten. We were next door neighbors for years until my family moved to a different part of town just before 8th grade. We had drifted apart - it being in the years before cellphones and high-speed internet (I almost can't believe that!).
I had told him how, upon returning to town, I looked up at the clear night sky and for the first time in perhaps years, I saw the stars. I saw the constellation Orion, clearer than I had ever seen it before from home. In response, he told me how a while ago, while backpacking with friends up north, he looked up to the clear moonless night and saw only the stars. There was so much starlight that everything around had a soft glow. And not just your typical stars, but stars of different colors - reds, oranges, yellows, blues - that you'd normally never see. It was later under this same starlight that he proposed to his fiance. Words could not describe how beautiful the world looks under nothing but starlight.
And I thought to myself, when was the last time I had that sense of amazement? Or any sense of amazement, really. I remember looking up at the stars as a kid and reading about every constellation, every star, every nebula, that I could look up. I wondered, when was this sense of awe and amazement quenched? When does growing up suffocate the curiosity and wonder of childhood? Becoming an adult is a perilous thing to the capacity of kids to dream.
Recently, I had a brief moment of amazement (granted, a somewhat twisted version). You see, viruses amount to nothing more than RNA or DNA, some proteins, and perhaps less than a dozen genes. And yet, without consciousness, without cognitive intent, viruses naturally just infiltrate our bodies and subvert our own cells to serve their own ends. How curious that we all share the same building blocks of life, the same atoms, and yet we must be so antagonistic. And on a loosely related note, how all thought and sensations are but the products atoms interacting. There's nothing of substance to our thinking, and yet like magic we make real what's only illusion - we materialize it in words, sounds, writing, actions, etc. To think that an orgasm or love are just chemicals interacting with each other at the right time and place, now there's some awe in that.
You may not think so, you may not agree, you may not even care or are thinking "wtf." But when was the last time you took a moment to take in something and think deeply about it - to reduce it to it's simplest elements and marvel how something so complex and, indeed, miraculous came about?
Anyway, enough of my rambling.