What does magic mean to me? I could answer that a hundred different ways.
The body is magic. Step back from within yourself a moment and observe. The how’s and why’s will never end. Life relies on the body, and the body knows. That bond is magic.
Psychology is magic. The inner journey is a real landscape somewhere. Consciousness is just about as miraculous as it gets. The world behind one’s eyes, identity, awareness, perception: whatever explanation might be given, who can deny the magic here?
Music is magic. There is no doubt there. Sounds, vibrations, and melody; rhythm, atmosphere, and the story it tells; the connection to memory so strong, so special, that even Alzheimer’s can’t steal it away.
Nature is magic. Magic cycles put into motion that echo each other like ripples of water: spring after winter, dawn after darkness, growth from death. Blades of grass that push ever upward. Wind, like a ghost, only seen by what it touches; fallen leaves dancing down the sidewalk. Fire. Water. Air. Earth. Alchemy and chemistry and physics. All that makes life possible is a fairy-tale come true.
Scent is magic. Electricity is magic. Imagination is magic. Birth is magic.
Photography, surely, is magic. Story, certainly, is magic. Language, poetry … magic!
I’ll prove it to you. And this is no trick.
If you follow my blog long enough, you will come to understand that I have a time-traveling love affair with Walt Whitman. In February 2013, I first read his letters to me. He wrote you letters, too, you know. They’re in the leaves that grow from his grave, in the pages he left behind, in the magic of the written word.
“Full of life, now, compact, visible,
I, forty years old the Eighty-third Year of The States,
To one a century hence, or any number of centuries hence,
To you, yet unborn, these, seeking you.
When you read these, I, that was visible, am become invisible;
Now it is you, compact, visible, realizing my poems, seeking me;
Fancying how happy you were, if I could be with you, and become your comrade;
Be it as if I were with you. (Be not too certain but I am now with you.)”
(“Full of Life, Now”, Leaves of Grass)
Each time since the first February reading, I absorb his words in awe. I shed tears in realizing just how incredibly magical reading and writing can be, just how much it resembles a hand reaching through the veil and holding mine, just how much it breaches mortality and breaks all the usual rules, how much it beats death and the threat of nothingness.
Like the invisible wind, he and all the living people behind written words are here now, as long as we read them, we the twirling leaves. Like a precious photograph, their words are a window. Like the cycles of nature, they are echoed, and so they live again and again and again.
Like the body, there is a knowing. This is magic.