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I love strangers, and catching them in states of wonderment.

For the second year in a row, I’ve watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade from the (warm) apartment of two friends who have adopted me during the holidays. I love balloons, and I love watching people watch balloons.

Last year, my favorite shot was of Spiderman and Grandma (left) and this year, it’s a photo I caught of Doughboy and Little Girl. I love these because it captures that state of awe you can still get from ordinary objects. I’m sure they, as well as the thousand of parade-goers every year, have seen balloons before. In fact, I noticed that a lot of the balloons this year were repeated from last year, Spiderman and Doughboy included. But still they press their hands on the windows and gape.

If there is one thing I am grateful for this Thanksgiving, it’s this ability to wonder.

To wonder is to marvel; to stare at the world with astonishment. It’s when you can look at a malformed mass of plastic and, despite your knowledge of it being blown for capitalistic ends and annually recycled, still gasp.  It’s when you’ve think you’ve seen it all, yet you still do a double-take. It is these little moments that catch you off-guard, and shake down the protective walls of cynicism you have built around you. To wonder is to be curious, and it is this powerful spark that makes us do big, sometimes unexplainable, things. Wonderment costs nothing, won’t come to you unless you let it, and can be found throughout the spectrum of humanity.

Happy Thanksgiving, all! From one who used to think you could never have pumpkin for dessert. (Yum.)