Not far from my workplace is a towering Gothic edifice called the Cathedral of Learning. I may have mentioned it before, on this blog; it’s a rather prominent feature of Pittsburgh’s university corridor, sticking up like the mast of a ship on the University of Pittsburgh campus. On nice days, I love lounging on its wide, sun-drenched lawns. But it’s also a great place to go inside, because I am not kidding when I say the whole place is built to look like a Gothic cathedral, stretched upward to 38 stories. It looks like a building where Batman might brood on the roof. (Point of fact: scenes from the Nolan trilogy of Batman films were actually shot in Pittsburgh in and around my workplace, only a couple of blocks from the Cathedral of Learning. But that is a story for another day….)
The Cathedral of Learning is a building of echoing stone corridors, fluted pillars, and fancy wrought iron. If you like arches and alcoves and heavy wooden furniture that looks like it was lifted from Oxford, have I got a place for you! The whole building is very Old World, which is rather outside my everyday life here in America, so going in is always an experience. It’s like stepping through a portal. It’s a moment of wonder.
Wonder is, IMHO, an important part of a complete and balanced life. I may have talked about this before on this blog but it bears repeating. It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut, sometimes you just need to go someplace different. Someplace that engages you on a new level or from a different angle. It’s a trick writers use to stimulate fresh ideas. Not sure where that story is going? Get up and move. Go somewhere else. Go somewhere different.
I’m a visual person, so visual change always helps. I’m a big fan of offbeat museums and unusual buildings and winding parks. These are places of wonder for me. They are places to get lost in, they shake me loose from where I am.
Do you have a place of wonder? Do you have somewhere you go, just to get lost in? Or is it a moment you treasure, a moment where you felt caught up in something greater than yourself?
The world is full of potential wonderful-ness. Sometimes you will stumble upon it like a sudden view or an instant connection with a stranger or a hidden park. And sometimes, you just need to go out and seek it.