To see a world in a grain of sand
And heaven in a wildflower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
There is a Garrison Keillor Lake Wobegone story I was listening to a few weeks ago about a boy who was bored, bored, bored in the summer. Eventually he went out and flopped on the grass where he noticed the ants. He lay there, wondering and constructing an entire world for them in his mind until a friend came along and asked him what in the world he was doing ("Nothing!") and would he like to go swimming?
To see a world in a grain of sand or a world for ants, there is a certain level of boredom necessary. At least for most people. Geologists might get a kick out of it, but the rest of us poor saps aren't having it. But when I am bored.... I'll look at anything. Boredom is so underrated. It seems like I have read so many articles about boredom being good for kids this year. In honor of these articles, we decided to give the kids a screen free summer. Well mostly screen free. When there are 12 cousins running around at Grandma and Grandpa's and fights descend in the late afternoon, letting them play some computer games does save other people's sanity. But for the most part, it has gone pretty well. It helps that we have been living in our new place a lot of the summer. I have this idea that habits are largely dependent on surroundings. I spend a good bit of time on the computer at home, but when I am at my sister's house for a week, I feel no urgency to get on her computer to see what is happening in the world. So maybe a different house has helped.
I am not sure that boredom definitely translates into the embodiment of this quote, but I do hope my kids find a little bit of wonder and absorption in their wanders and rambles this summer.
Just maybe they will find a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wildflower.