The homespun philosopher Elbert Hubbard once quipped, "Little minds are interested in the extraordinary; great minds in the commonplace." If that is true, then philosopher and poet John Skoyles qualifies as a great mind. In this pensive and warm-hearted collection of essays he finds wonder in everyday experiences. Skoyles reminds me of the elder in Ingmar Bergman's film Fanny and Alexander who says to the members of his family: "We must live in the little, little world. We shall be content with that and cultivate it and make the best of it. It is necessary, and not the least shameful, to take pleasure in . . . good food, gentle smiles, fruit trees in bloom, waltzes."
Skoyles has mastered the art of taking pleasure in trifles — he sees in a card from his son "a colorful commandment to love"; he marvels at the hospitality he unexpectedly receives from some strangers at a coffee shop and bakery; and he takes the advice of an artist and sees his home with fresh eyes. Whether writing about raccoons, good intentions, a pumpkin contest, or teaching at an Ivy League college, Skoyles tutors us in the spiritual practice of wonder.