The Sense of Wonder - Lee Boynton and Rachel Carson

The Sense of Wonder: Lee Boynton and Rachel Carson

Southport Memorial Library, Southport Maine

July-August, 2018

Lee painting on Southport Island, Maine

Lee painting on Southport Island, Maine

In this show quotes from Rachel Carson’s book The Sense of Wonder are interspersed with Lee’s artwork. Rachel Carson, scientist and writer, and Lee Boynton, artist and teacher, touched the world in mighty ways through the overflow of their hearts and the works of their hands. They had eyes to see the wonder in the world around them and articulated that wonder with beautiful, heart-felt language — Rachel Carson with her pen and Lee Boynton with his paint brush.

In her book The Sense of Wonder, Rachel Carson demonstrates from her own life that the sense of wonder is passed to those around us, and particularly the next generation, through love and relationship. She tells of how one stormy autumn night she wrapped her baby nephew Roger in a warm blanket and took him down to the rocky shore below her cottage on Southport. Holding him close to her heart, she introduced him to the wonder and majesty of the turbulent sea and the vast night sky. He is safe in her arms as she imparts to him that sense of awe and wonder she knew so well. She believed this heart connection with nature and one another was the key to saving our fragile, breathtaking world.

Lee kept his inborn sense of wonder alive through his relationship with our living God. His love for God and God’s Word fueled his life as an artist. “I’m a co-creator with God when I paint,” he would say. His art was an expression of his awe and wonder. As for Rachel, his summers on the coast of Maine were a creative well-spring.

Lee yearned to ignite that heart response in his students. I often heard from his students that Lee was the best teacher they ever had in any subject. He gave himself fully to the glory of the moment and to sharing the joy of discovery with color and paint. “You can do it!” he would say. “Tap into the wonder of God and that gift He has given you.. Don’t over think it. Be free to paint and sing!” His enthusiasm was infectious.

That sense of wonder was the one underlying gift Lee desired to pass on to our children. They grew up seeing him paint wherever we went. Our daughter Margie painted alongside her father throughout her life. Thanks to him, she understands the true value of her artistic gift, and is finding her own beautiful voice.