Wonder And Sonder

December 6, 2017 2:48pm Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 32 Comments


Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy On A Wednesday!

She’s all bundled up in a long fawn coat and hand knitted scarf, the old lady on the street. Ready to brave the winter chill as she pulls the beaten old trolley behind her and walks in the direction of the shops. She’s moving slowly but once upon a time, she was a young girl running around and likely being mischievous. People don’t think of that; now they just see an elderly lady, if they even see her at all. She’s mostly invisible. There’s a sense of freedom to that but also a great loss.

The man behind her switches his gait to get past so he can maintain his speed. He wears jeans, a fleece, and a wool hat. He’s walking two very small dogs, one has a coat on. He looks uncomfortable about the situation. He’s probably walking them for his girlfriend.

I drive past them and wonder if they’re the sort of people I’d get along with and what’s going on in the little bubble that is their life. Sonder, they call it: the realisation that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.

I really notice these people as I pass. I’m on full autopilot, paying more attention to what’s going on around me than how I’m getting to my destination. That’s something I’ve always done but it seems accentuated at this time of year. The nuances. The rarely seen, the unspoken words, a sense of sweet, melancholic emotion attached to everything around me.

Have you noticed how still it is at this time of year? Despite everyone being all revved up with lists of things that simply must be completed before the year turns in, I am acutely aware of this calm in the eye of the storm. Is introspection the modern day version of hibernation?

I feel lost and found at the same time. A sense of belonging and yet not part of it at all. It’s the most bizarre feeling. I like it but it’s slightly uncomfortable.

I love the light at this time of year; it matches the tone perfectly. The sky is just how an artist would paint it and the light is low and forgiving on natures nakedness. I can see for miles. The yellow rape fields and lush green pastures are all stripped back to basics. Everything is ripped of its finery and yet beautiful in its simplicity.

I want to shed myself the same. I’m tired of the worlds problems, the naysayers and the unforgiving. I want to shake all the detritus from me like a wet dog might shake the mud from its fur.

There’s nostalgia at play too. I recognise this because I’m actually listening to the lyrics of songs playing in my car instead of my usual flicking through them at speed because I’m not in the mood for that track. Each one seems to resonate with my senses. This time of year will always bring about sentimentality because we have been taught to think that way. The magic and purity of the season are so perfect that it makes us realise we are not. That’s a good thing.

But that aside, there’s something raw and primal about this time of year that makes me conscious and heedful. Nature is definitely at play. My exterior and interior are receptive to one another and it urges me to pay special attention.
I’d like to hope that everyone else does that too, lest we forget how to be human. How’s that for a bit of whimsy?


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That is very thoughtful whimsy on a Wednesday Jules. The old lady you described, reminded me of Christine Keeler, who died yesterday. At the heart of almost destroying a government during the Cold War in the 60s, for sleeping with a British minister and a Russian spy. The papers shown her in all her young beauty, naked straggling a chair, then in her old age pulling a shopping trolley behind her. Meloncholly in deed.

Thank you, Theresa. Sometimes I’m deep and filling like a homemade mince pie.

You do realise that every red-blooded male now reading this post is going to Google Christine Keeler straddling a chair, right?

Well, all I can say to that is, “Everything is about sex. Except for sex. Sex is about power” Psychology 101. And also Oscar Wilde genius. Make the most of your sexy time by nobbing a Russian spy, if you will, because by the time humility has smacked you round the side of the head, so has the stick of time. Happens to the best of us. The most you’ve got to look forward to is filling your old trolley with today’s bargains from the Co-op. Life. 🙂

Huh. I’d never heard of that before. Interesting ARTICLE about the chair in the photos, from which the below quote is excerpted:
[Photographer] Lewis Morley’s image has become a classic and as widely imitated as [Danish designer Arne] Jacobsen’s chair. You can see such chairs in second-hand shops described as ‘Keeler chairs’.

Well done Mike, you red-blooded male, not letting me down on that one!

A very interesting article, thank you!

Looking at the contact sheets I think I prefer the bottom left shot next to the misfired one. It’s a more interesting pose. Every single bloke now needs a Keeler chair in his pad that he can use as a seduction piece. ;P

Wow! Thanks for that link! It’s 6:40 a.m. here in New York and that sure woke my ass up. She was the lethal combo of British and girl-next-door. My kryptonite.

We aim to please from every angle at this informative and ass kicking blog, M. Hope you enjoyed your Chrissy Kryptonite. 🙂

There’s a lot to like about this post. Amazing Grace, Advent penance and the WHO. All that to say nothing of a man walking a toy dog with a coat.

He was right to feel to feel uneasy.

Penance? I’m doing that on a daily basis, LSP! I thought Advent was about chocolatey fun, no?

There’s definitely some Amazing Grace going on. But not for the guy with the pooch in a hoodie.
I often like to reference The Who in my writings. Well spotted 🙂

Have you been watching “It’s A Wonderful Life ” and getting all warm and Christmassy?
I was waiting for the twist in the tale but it didn’t come. Lovely piece, sensitively written. Makes me want a mulled wine

I’ve not seen that film for donkeys! Nope, not watched anything remotely Christmassy. That’s what I mean, I think it’s also a lot to do with nature and the time of year – as in winter.

Thank you 🙂 See, I can be nice and have sensitive endings rather than “everyone died” ;P

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

The thing that I like best about this time of year is that there is a change of attitude. People look forward to moments with their family and their loved ones. As you suggest, even though there is a bit of frantic buying, the thoughts of people are calmed by good will and wishes of peace and good will toward all.

And then after Christmas, there is boxing day, which is a VERY IMPORTANT day.

Isn’t it, Larry.

Yes, attitudes are different. Until Boxing Day where we, over here in Jolly Olde England, take a bank holiday thump at all those who have taken the festive cheer a bit too far. Yes, I have been guilty of this myself. Obviously, that is NOT why this day is very important, though. It is VERY special because the second Messiah was born. One day his disciples will tell the story 😉

Oh yes, Goatman. He was thrown into English prison for indecency and suchlike. What a genius before his time, though.

A very well educated man and also fluent in many other languages except his native Irish. Clearly, he didn’t drink enough Guinness!
His last words are supposed to be, ‘My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or other of us has got to go.” A wit until the end.

An interesting article, thank you. BTW – The writer of that piece, Jerry Saltz, needs to learn that Reading football club rarely score a goal but they do have a gaol. 🙂

Ha . . . Now I must dust off my red-bound book of Wilde and see what he was about word-wise.

You should! He is an abstract painting in words!

Looks like this is my day to learn new stuff about people from/in the UK and Ireland. I did not know that Wilde had been so badly treated in prison. Makes the old witticism (I think from Monty Python) “The only thing worse than being talked about … is doing two years for buggery,” decidedly less funny. So thanks for the Vulture link, though it does strike me as a bit excessively hagiographic regarding Wilde.

I recalled that Wilde was accused by the Marquess of Queensbury of “posing as a somdomite” (sic), which led to his legal woes. (Interesting that the was accused of posing as a sodomite.) Anyway, searching on that led me to
THIS review of a book that sounds very interesting. It seems to me (based solely on reading the review, admittedly) that Wilde let his confidence in his own cleverness and charm over rule good sense. What is not clear, to me at any rate, is what motivated Wilde to sue the Marquess of Queensbury: ego, personal animus against the father of his lover, desire to flout convention in yet another forum [legal], or crusading for “gay rights” (in quotes seeing as it didn’t really exist then/there). Or some combination thereof. Whatever the real reason(s), it just goes to show that the saying “your ego is not your amigo,” while trite and cloying, is nevertheless true.

Finally two thoughts on “somdomy”. First, it is appalling that an English noble and presumably (hah) educated man would be so illiterate as to muck up the word. (O! The wickedness of lost Somdom and Gommorhea! Though ceftriaxone IM and oral azithro takes care of the latter….) Second, clearly buggery was not the issue, else they’d have had to lock up a large fraction of their upper classes.

Thanks for the link to the trial. I understand that it was a big deal in merry old England.

I heard that he wrote letters in prison so I’m not sure about the part where no pen and paper were allowed but by all other accounts, he was very badly treated.
Oh yes, the Mof Q made him bankrupt and then saw to his demise.

I like the sound of this book and have already sniggered at some of his retorts!
(Carson: “Was it a favourite drink – iced champagne?”; Wilde: “Yes, strongly against my doctor’s orders.” “Never mind the doctor’s orders.” “I don’t”), Ha!

I have added it to my Christmas list. Like he said, pleasure is the only thing one should live for!

What a delightful, emotion filled story. I love your description of naked nature and will now look at my surroundings with fresh eyes.

Thank you. Well, that’s very good to know, Jane. Enjoy your views! 🙂

“sonder” is one of the gorgeousest words in the Language. up there with “saudade”

mah dahlin all i’ve got is nostalgia. all I ever had was nostalgia. which makes me wonder if there were ever a time when I actually just lived…


Those two words go very well together, my sweet *) I’m also now a fan of gorgousest.

Nostalgia is better than indifference. However, ask me that again on Boxing Day 😉

Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be…

It sure ain’t! 😉

Beautiful musings Jules.
I’ll keep this short, as I’m off to Google Images to search for more pics of Christine Keeler’s…um..chair.

Hahahaha! Shock. 😉

Don’t overdo it now. Quality or quantity? You can’t have both.

Nostalgia plays year-round, my little flower. It’s not a one-month engagement. A lovely piece. A lovely peace.

And worsens by the decade.

Thank you,my lovely 🙂

Evocative and touching Jules. Perhaps winter season is the only time of year when many are forced to slow down from the mad, mad world long enough to let their minds reflect. It is a shame though that in this ever rapidly moving world, more time and more people do not start their mornings or end their evenings reflecting not on projects well done or undone but on their roles, people encountered, and lessons learned.

Uriel! Welcome to the cheap seats! So good to have you here and I’m very pleased you arrived at one of my nicer posts!

Thank you 🙂 I quite agree. People need to take time out to reflect on what is going on close around them and the effect that has had or is having. The world would be a much nicer place if we all took time out for some consideration. The end of year and winter tends to facilitate that somewhat. 🙂

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