Wonder and the Window Seat

I’m seven or so in the photograph I can mentally recall, taken by my father… a full-beam double-dimple raised-eyebrow smile on my face as I peered out the airplane window. Sheer awe and delight. I had the window seat, and surely it was as exciting an adventure to me as the vacation that awaited us. I remember the way that felt. The wonder. I think I pulled myself away only to eat, and to admire my shiny gold airline wings pin I’d been gifted as I boarded.

Today I sat on a plane, aisle seat, and the shades all were pulled down. The cabin was dark, each and every passenger faced with a seatback individual screen streaming continual marketing for movies, music and 100 channels of television.

In that dark setting, my memory of that photo, of that childhood flight stood out in my mind as a drastic contrast. And that, in turn, created a longing in me I can’t fully explain… But it had something to do with every child being given a window seat with the shade fully up, and to be encouraged to consider how amazing it is to be up among the clouds. To be still, to ponder, to dream and to allow oneself to be lost in wonder.

I made a mental note of the importance of awe and wonder in a child’s life…. significant mind- and hope-expanding experiences and perspectives that only can be authentically fed by un-manmade things, such as butterflies, tree frogs, endless fields of green, babbling brooks, yawning canyons, wide oceans of blue, immeasurable horizons of nothing but clouds and sunshine.

And then, it happened.

A few rows back… there was the slap of a shade going up, a beam of sunlight streaming across the seats… And then: two small voices in unison saying, “Whooooooaaaaaaa!”, followed by excited chatter and the intermittent warm, patient, coaxing of an adult’s guiding voice.

Row 14 had found and embraced the adventure of the window seat.

And hope answered my longing.



If this post resonates with you, you might also like this recent post: My Dear Child: Enjoy Childhood.

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