A Sense of Wonder

red and white concrete house near mountain
Photo by Cassie Boca on Unsplash
A house in Iceland

I think of this time of year as something of a dreamtime. The weather is stormy, the colours are vivid and it feels like stories are in the air along with the whirling leaves. It’s the month of Halloween, and I’ve aimed to post something every day, whether it’s old or new, just to acknowledge that this time of year is sort of supernatural.

Hand on heart, I don’t believe in vampires or werewolves. I keep an open mind about ghosts and know that as a (really rubbish) Christian I ought not to believe in nature spirits. But I do believe that it’s fun to act as if you believe, as if there are wonderful worlds just beyond our view, and that there is a magic in the world – within reason of course.

I have tried to raise my son with a sense of wonder and curiosity in the world, along with my husband who is a consummate story teller himself. I started young. When my son was maybe three years old, we walked past a hole next to the pavement and I pointed at it and said that anything could live down there, even a dragon. That was a mistake. Son refused to walk past it. I had to pick him up and carry him. Later I had to explain to a nursery worker exactly why my son was talking about dragons on the way to school. He only calmed down when we told him that Daddy had gone to the dragon and punched it on the nose, so there wouldn’t be any trouble.

A few weeks later we passed a similar hole. I thought I had learned my lesson and told him that rabbits could live down there. Son was only three, but he gave me a look that said, ‘You’re saying rabbits, but you’re meaning dragons’.

That is why I love reading about the elves in Iceland. There is an article here about them. It’s not a question of whether the elves are real or not. It is all about a world where there is room to believe in them. It is about a place where you can accept a little magic without worrying about what people think. For me, it isn’t about the elves. It is the spirit of generous tolerance to other people’s harmless beliefs that needs celebrating. It is a thing of wonder and we need more of that in the world. Sometimes we need to believe that the elves’ church needs protecting or that there is a dragon down a hole, just for the magic of it.

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