Discovering dinosaur footprints and shining eyes

A couple of weeks ago I visited my old primary school and for the first time in 3o something years, looked over at the trees underneath which I played as a five year old. Standing there, I had a vivid flashback of lying on the ground and drawing, then ‘discovering’, dinosaur footprints in the earth.

When do we lose our childlike sense of wonder in discovering the world? Is it something we grow out of? Or are we taught out of it?

Last year, I spent several days in the Costa Rican rainforest studying biomimicry, the art and science of emulating nature. Each day, our group would set out into the rainforest to explore. Everyday, someone would appear back on the main balcony, eyes sparkling, exclaiming ‘This is so cool! You have to come and have a look! Follow meeeeeeee!’ Like a painting being restored to reveal the jewel underneath, our joyful sense of discovering was being restored. We were rediscovering a childlike (not childish) sense of wonder in the jaw-droppingly amazing natural world of which we are a part.

Apparently at one of the local primary schools here in Wellington, every week the children have discovery time. Maybe this is common, I hope so. But it led me to think, how cool it would be if as adults, we had discovery time? At midday on Wednesday, David the policy analyst sitting in his office in a high rise building, gets to walk away from his desk for a few hours, take of his tie, roll up his sleeves and head out into the world to discover. What might he find? Who might he find? What long lost part of himself might he, with shining eyes, rediscover?

Eyes shining with discovery in Costa Rica

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