How to Find Wonder in Any Moment

Ethan Maurice
7 min readJun 30, 2019

This afternoon, I’m getting paid to sit under an umbrella next to a pool, read books, and write these words in Flagstaff, Arizona.

It’s a spectacular summer day. Upper seventies. A slight breeze. Overplayed but otherwise decent music sounds from the speakers that surround. A couple of kids are shooting each other with squirt-guns in the pool while their moms chat at a table under an umbrella. A man that looks like a walrus is turning red with sun in a lounge chair. Thunderheads grow off on the western horizon, but the sky above is a pale blue canvas.

As I plan to go to flight school this fall, I’m particularly aware of commercial airliners silently drawing white streaks across that pale blue canvas and the smaller planes that buzz by in approach to the Flagstaff airport. I’ve been projecting myself into the cockpit of every plane that passes by. I see myself at the yoke, soaring above those blooming thunderheads on the horizon or lining up with the oncoming runway where I’ll bring an airplane, a flying machine, back in contact with the Earth. What an incredible job for a big-brained monkey: to fly! Humans have been ground bound for quite some time… I find the thought of being a flying monkey downright mind-boggling.

I found great wonder in riding shotgun on my first flight in a small plane last October.

I know the wonder of flight drew many of those pilots passing overhead into the cockpit, but also that, inevitably, they will often lose sight of the miracle of flight. They’ll want more, or somewhere else, or something else other than the awesome craziness of flying.

I can use the word “inevitably” because this happens to all of us all the time. I have to look no further than myself at this very moment: I’m getting paid to sit under an umbrella by a pool and read books and write this article — all things I love — and I’m projecting myself into the future and cockpit of every plane that passes by.

This is just how our minds work: anything we grasp for begins to transmute the moment we grasp it. We move on to wanting something else.

That’s okay, because the focus on what we don’t have is a constant spur to grow, making life an inexhaustible stream of adventures…