A Very Curious Thing

Cottonwood Seeds on the Lawn

I walk outside and great puffs of white float about me.  It’s not snow; it’s cottonwood seed

The seeds pile up on driveways, on the sides of streets, and on lawns and gardens.  I’ve never seen anything like it. 

All through lunch, I think about cottonwood trees.  I wonder where all these seeds end up and why millions of cottonwood aren’t somehow sprouting all over Colorado with this kind of onslaught of seeds.

Could I stuff a pillow with cottonwood seeds?  Might I make a great comforter for my bed?  In the midst of these questions, I realize something:  Being curious about the world makes me very happy.  Living with flair means you take a look around and ask a question.  You develop that lost art of curiosity so natural in children.

I’m traveling with a group of professors, and we talk about the strange things we are curious about on this day alone.  Surprisingly, I’m not the only one who feels curious about random things.  Today, some wonder:

1.  Where did the concept of “family pews” originate?
2.  What really is sorbet?
3.  Is diving into a pool of cold water or wading in slowly better for acclimation?

I laughed out loud and smiled about the kinds of things we think about.  I want to stay curious for my whole life.  

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Journal:  What did you wonder about today?  

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This Doesn’t Happen Every Day

As we walk to school, we find a cell phone and keys tucked away into the hollow of a tree.  These treasures arrive some days and leave by afternoon.   It’s so. . . intriguing.  I imagine the tree in To Kill a Mockingbird and the gifts the children discover as they walk to school. 

Our walk to school, once mundane, now offers a complicated plot twist.  Who owns these things?  Why are they here? 

The crossing guard announces that she hides these items in the tree as she goes about her work.  She retrieves them after her shift. We slump down, the intrigue gone.   For a moment, we had a real riddle on our hands.

And we loved it.  We need intrigue.  I’m in the presence of the intriguing when I can’t help but be curious, when I can’t help but ask questions.  Intrigue, according to my neighbors, drives us to read novels, to absorb ourselves in television and movie plots, and to abandon everything to learn more and unravel the complicated twist.

I’ve got to see the intrigue, even in a town like this, on a day like today.  

As we approach the school, we gaze up to the morning sky and the tall trees surrounding the building.  A deafening crack interrupts our chatter.  One of the tallest trees, bare and majestic, splinters and falls.  As it falls, it takes another enormous tree down with it.  Children, parents, and school administrators stand there, paralyzed by the power of it.   Is this really happening? 

How intriguing this whole scene is!  We’re delighted by it, entranced and curious.  We search and discover the ground crew, blocked by school buses, who orchestrate the event.

These things don’t happen every day.  Intriguing trees have taken over my morning. 

What else can I find about today that truly intrigues?  If I lift my eyes, I might just see something.

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