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    Summer break is the perfect opportunity to get back into reading. Adam Silvera’s (2017) novel, They Both Die at the End, can serve as a stepping stone into the realm of reading. The pace is fast, action-packed, and develops loveable characters. Also, Silvera switches point of view each chapter where narration mainly focuses on the protagonists, […]
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Keep mind open while stressed

In my family’s kitchen there is a small glass terrarium filled with water.

A single water lily continues to grow, requiring the removal of leaves occasionally so that it may remain in the enclosure. A blue betta swims in his habitat as four snails never tire of exploring this little world.

I had recognized the beauty of betta fish in the past and the blue betta was no exception, but I certainly didn’t expect these snails to be so fascinating. Yet, through my spring break, I found myself repeatedly watching these snails.

These little creatures moved much faster than I had anticipated, climbing the walls, plant, and each other as well as moving around like little vacuums over the gravel.

Unexpectedly, the largest snail could be found at the surface pulling water through himself in order to suck fish food pellets into his mouth.

To my further surprise, I noticed one of the smallest snails floating in the water one day.

The snail had just the right amount of air in its shell so that it was submerged, but floating.

Regularly, the snails would drop back to the bottom of the tank by disconnecting themselves from the glass that they had climbed to the top.

Twice, I witnessed snails that had accidentally landed on their backs turning themselves right side up.

It may seem strange, but watching these snails reminded me of wonder.

I cannot speak for you, but I know that wonder is something I have a tendency to forget in the busyness and stress of life. But, there are so many reasons to remember wonder as we go through life.

Even an animal as small and simple as a snail is incredibly intricate and, in the case of these snails, rather lively.

It seems to be so easy to overlook the beauty of the world.

This may be due to sufferings, but perhaps more often to daily familiarity with life and our surroundings.

For a class this week, I watched a John Cage’s recording of “4’33”.”

For those unfamiliar with this piece, it is a musical composition in three parts and consists of silence. The orchestra sits silently for the duration of the performance and the audience does the same.

Within this performance it is possible to hear many small sounds that would normally not be noticed during a concert, such as a cough or the sound of someone shifting positions.

This performance, perhaps more than the snails, was a surprise of wonder.

Just as I had watched the snails more intently than the beautiful betta, I found that I listened to the silent performance much more intently than I had listened to the musical performance of the high school concert I attended several days prior.

I appreciated the beauty of the betta and admired him, but was drawn to the new fascination of the snails.

I also appreciated the music of the live concert I attended and enjoyed it, but found myself drawn more deeply into the silence of “4’33’’.”

In both cases, I was reminded of wonder through the fascination of the unexpected.

However, being reminded of wonder in this way helps me, in turn, to see the rest of the world again with renewed senses.

I hope that you may also remember wonder no matter how stressful the semester may become.

After all, life is awe-inspiring when we allow ourselves to see like children.

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