Phenomenal: A Hesitant Adventurer’s Search for Wonder in the Natural World, by Leigh Ann Henion is filled with awe and wonder, without ever being sticky sweet. It’s the story of Leigh Ann Henion’s spirit-seeking pilgrimage; her “pilgrimage to wonder.” In seven separate, yet intimately joined journeys, journeys which lead her from “a complete breakdown of faith…in what, exactly, I do not know”, to her saying, “…to experience an eclipse – or any of the phenomena I have explored – is to be granted an audience with [Mystery].”
Ms. Henion selects seven different natural phenomena around the world to experience in person. Along the way, there are indeed glitches and unpleasantness, but her growing sense of wonder and oneness with Mystery moderates those glitches. She accepts the challenge of fully drinking in each of her experiences, and becomes a lyrical storyteller convinced that “We are stardust”. The way she expresses herself simply sings. This is one of the best books I’ve ever read.