Posts Tagged With: Magic


Always Ready to Party

I pass this house on my bike rides either coming or going. I slow down as I pedal past. I try not to stare but it’s difficult not to. You see, it’s still a bit dark when I’m going past and strands of white twinkle lights light up the yard. That’s not something you normally see on an October morning.

I should mention it’s the back yard, not the front. I have no idea what the front of this house looks like. I should ride over that way and see sometime, I suppose. Many of these homes were modestly built out of cinderblock during the fifties, nearly identical inside and out.  Quarter or half-acre lots back up to this part of the trail which serves as a power line easement and passes backyards filled with dozens of stories and even more questions.

This particular back yard captures my imagination and holds it hostage.

Photo by Codo (The passion of the mariachi) [CC BY-SA 2.0 ( ], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Codo (The passion of the mariachi) [CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In the slowly brightening sky the outline of a mariachi band plays against the twinkle lights. More specifically, life-sized, rusty looking metal statues of a mariachi band face the back of the house. There’s no actual music. But the feeling of a song just ended hangs in the yard like a fine morning mist.

Several matching rust colored umbrellas stand at ease amid various patio tables. A small swimming pool reflects light on to heavy tied-back patio curtains.

In contrast to the perfectly manicured yard and setting, two vintage cars and a small lawn tractor sit nearby. A row of desert trees skirt along a white fence.

I imagine that on closer inspection I’d find a more than adequate barbecue set up, a fire pit and a mini bar.

The interior of the house usually stands dark and silent. Oh, how I’ve wanted to stop and take a photo. But that seems intrusive and paparazzi-ish. So I haven’t any images to share. I hold only a mental photograph I snap every single time I ride past. Somehow, I’m sure, a photograph wouldn’t capture the vision I see and feel.

While walking in the ordinary light of day past this home the magic pull of this back yard holds far less sway on me. It’s just another backyard in the sunshine. I’m not sure what it is but there’s something about the pre-dawn light that makes it all feel as if someone just sprinkled pixie dust over the entire site.

Photo by MzScarlett / A.K.A. Michelle from Missouri (Ice Tea) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by MzScarlett / A.K.A. Michelle from Missouri (Ice Tea) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

In that early morning hour I sense I’ve always just missed the last snippets of a long night of whispered conversations, laughter, ice clinking in glasses and wet footprints leading away from the pool. I suspect I’ve missed out on serpentine stories and long jokes with intelligent punchlines. The only taste I get of the party just finished hovers lightly as the scent of creosote in the chill early air.

Do I think this household throws a party every night that last long into the wee hours? No, not at all.

What I do think is they have managed to capture the essence of a nightly party and hold it there in a quarter-acre space. It must conjure wonderful memories to look out from the kitchen window of that home and see ghosts of guests long since departed. What joy it must bring to remember, amid the twinkle lights, friendships and family, chatter and music, stars and breezes.

Clearly I’ve romanticized and idealized what happens at this home. Whatever really goes on, whoever really lives there, I don’t want to know. I’d rather keep what I’ve imagined and call it truth.

I wonder if I could create something similar. Surely I don’t need a metal mariachi band to capture that sense of excitement and wonder at daily life. Maybe something as simple as candlelight and music softly playing at dinner, even if it’s meatloaf on the menu. Perhaps a strand of twinkle lights draped along the patio and plugged in every night, party or not, just for the sake of celebrating life.

I’ll have to give this more thought. Is this just a Better Homes and Gardens or House Beautiful photo shoot I’ve stumbled on and can’t possibly recreate? Or is there something real there, something in the idea of celebration that I could blend into my daily walk and talk? It’s an intriguing idea.

Party on, my friends, party on.


“What we see depends mainly on what we look for.” 

– John Lubbock

Categories: Celebration, Family, Fun, good ideas, Holiday | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Priceless Moment Captured

While walking this afternoon with Mom and Dad at the Riparian Preserve I snapped this photo of them.

Sweet moment.

Sweet moment.

At the time I didn’t think much of it. Just clicked the shutter and pocketed my phone. It wasn’t until hours later that I looked at it. Honestly it caught my breath. With dusk approaching and trees overhead the light framed this scene with a patina I find so appropriate.

Mom’s head inclined just so toward Dad says more than pages of words could ever achieve.

If you look really close you’ll see a bunny that allowed the two of them to get within mere feet to take its photo. Kind of magical, if you ask me.

I’m loving every moment I get to hang out with them. So glad they made the long drive to visit. I’m feeling loved, reassured and enveloped in a sort of peaceful bubble. I’m pretty sure it’s due to the presence of angels they surely have attending them. They definitely deserve that extra attention and care.

I love these two people beyond words.

That’s all.

Categories: Family | Tags: , , , , | 9 Comments

Flying Fire

While camping with my young family in North Carolina I experienced something truly splendiferous for the first time.

English: Campfire with sparks in Anttoora, Fin...

Campfire with sparks. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A campfire worked itself into a steady quiet burn. Smoke spiraled lazily from its center. The day settled out in a tired wash of well-worked muscles. Each kid, except for the three-year old who was asleep in the tent, had a stirring stick inside the fire. Not that the fire needed stirring, but kids seem compelled to play with fire, literally and proverbially. They’d ignite the end and then, sparkler-like, draw designs in the air until the flame died out. Then they’d spin smoke signals, tendrils of nothingness joining in the spiral from the center of the main fire. This game could go on for nearly an hour until we called bedtime. Until then, we let them play.

My eyes followed the line of smoke upward as it wove itself among the dense canopy of leaves. No breeze of any kind disturbed the disappearing trail of grey. The trees stood completely still and quiet. The coolness of the air began to settle in around our feet. I leaned back on the large log I sat on, hugged my arms to warm up a bit and looked up to see the stars. Nothing surpasses starlight’s intensity when out camping somewhere far from city lights.

The overhead leaves and branches obstructed the view of the night sky, except for a patch here or there. My eyes searched to find familiar constellations, but the sections of sky I could see were too small. Then movement caught my attention. The leaves weren’t moving and yet they seemed to move. I asked my husband if he’d heard of a meteor shower happening. That caught his attention. He sat down beside me and looked up.

I pointed to the patch of sky I’d seen moving. “There,” I said, and “there, and there.” A meteor shower for sure, but without the streaks of light. These stars resembled embers in a fire, a quick flash of light that would disappear then quickly reappear as another flash nearby.

“That is not a meteor shower,” my husband said definitively. “Those are fireflies!” He laughed. “Come here, kids,  you gotta see this!”

common eastern (USA) firefly. Français : Photi...

Don’t let his looks fool you, this little guy can light things up and get a party going.

What? No. That’s not what fireflies look like, I thought to myself. Those lights are in the distance, high up in the atmosphere. And yet, I looked again, maybe he’s right.

The excitement and shift in his voice elicited instant obedience. The stirring sticks dropped to the ground and they rushed over to where my husband sat. He pointed skyward.

“Do you see those lights in the trees?” he asked the kids. “Watch. See those flashing, moving lights? Those are fireflies.”

“Cool!” The two of them said in tandem. “Can we catch them?”

“Don’t be silly,” I said, “they’re way past the tops of the trees.” But as I said this, the lights drew closer to us. Sure enough, the small group of lights flitted about lower and lower in the branches and then began to spread out and disperse. They didn’t fly close enough for us to see any details,  we simply admired their on again off again glow.

The kids ran and jumped and spun around under the disappearing blinking bugs. The air around us felt magical somehow, as if the sky itself had reached down and christened our camping spot with traveling starlight. Tinkerbell herself couldn’t have cast a better spell.

I’m pretty sure we floated off to sleep on a cloud of wonder and awe.

The cleverest of magicians and the finest of artists, Gaia, the ancient Greek goddess of earth,  surely weaves her incantations and her brushes with panache and skill. Better than stargazing and better than a meteor shower my first experience with fireflies put a smile on my face that lasted several days.

Thinking about it even this many years later makes me want to believe in magic.

Categories: Fun, Nature, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Proof That Humans Can Work Magic

I used to try to wiggle my nose to make something magical happen. I couldn’t wiggle my nose, so naturally, no magic. Then I tried holding my arms folded in front of me and blinking my eyes to make magic. Didn’t have much luck with that one either.

Magic words like “Alakazam!” and “Open Sesame!” and “Bibbity Bobbity Boo” didn’t have any effect, much to my chagrin.

I resorted to mind control. Thinking until it hurt my brain, I’d try to move a spoon, or make the salt shaker float. I’d stare at a pitcher of water and will it with my eyes to pour. No luck.

No magic.


Then I discovered books.

“A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called “leaves”) imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time ― proof that humans can work magic.”

Carl Sagan

January 10, 2013 - Antique Books

(Photo credit: eric.langhorst)

Carl Sagan always intrigued me with his “billions and billions” talk. And now I find, with this quote that he was magical too, talking to me across time, from his past to my present. Letting me know that I, too, am a magician after all.

After discovering books I decided I could make that kind of magic if I practiced enough.

So now, I write. That’s my magic.

It might not always be magical, but it’s working right now.

Categories: Books, Communication | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Catching My Shadow

I used to try to catch my shadow doing something different from I was doing.

I’d avert my eyes, pretend interest in something the opposite direction from my shadow. But secretly I was watching at the periphery for suspect movement and unexplained behavior from my flatter self.

shadow on sidewalk

A shadow on the sidewalk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Surely there had to be some independent quality about my shadow. How else to explain its shorter stature at some parts of the day and its odd stretching reach at others. I was too young to understand the correlation between where the sun was in the sky and what my shadow chose to do. To me it was simply a mystery, explained by something I didn’t have the ability to understand yet.

I suppose I was only five or six at the time, although I could have been older.

I was a child that desperately wanted to believe in magic and in happily ever after. I was certain that if I only believed hard enough that I could wriggle my nose just right and a candy bar would appear. I knew if I practiced long enough, holding my arms just so, and blinking my eyes with a nod and a smile that I could travel through space instantly and be somewhere new and unusual. I even figured that if I stared into a mirror long enough I’d see my friends looking back at me.

What I’ve found over the years is that all that is true. It’s just not true in the way I thought it was.

There are explanations for what I and my shadow do, but they can’t usually be explained by magic or by the sun’s movement. There’s usually a deeper reason behind the logic of my choices and the emotions of my day. I may not understand those reasons, but the explanations are there, somewhere hidden in my psyche, my history, my fears and hopes.

Although different from my youthful variety, believing, practicing, trying, studying can all bring about change. A much slower process than I wish it were, results are still tangible and distinct.  Looking back over the shortened span of my past, the changes that have happened really are miraculous and amazing.

Who I am, who I’ve become, isn’t vastly different from the child me. I think the believer in magic is still there, beside me, like my shadow. She is part of who I am. In fact, the magic believer is my shadow.

There are days, weeks, months and years that I move forward in spite of all reality tells me is impossible. I keep moving along the path I set for myself, wishing, hoping, trying, studying, working. Somewhere in all that the magic formula will occur and the transformation will happen. I may not understand it. But I’ll keep on until I do or until I find a more logical, more hopeful, more intriguing path to take.

Yup, me and my shadow, we’ll just keep believing and see what happens next.


Categories: Joy, Wondering | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

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