“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” ~ W.B. Yeats
Some years ago, a national conference was being held in Nashville and I was on the facilitating committee. Through email, I became a liaison/ambassador to those coming to the city. There were lots of requests for information and help and I loved trying to be of assistance.
My favorite request, however, was from a woman who grew up in the south but then lived in St. Cloud, Minnesota. She asked if I could help them locate a spot where it would be good for her little girl to be able to see fireflies or lightning bugs, as we call them. She said they did not have them in their area and that her little girl had never seen them.
I was astonished.
I’ve never lived further than 30 miles from my birth spot and lightning bugs were not only a part of my history but my present. Still are. I worked hard to think of areas where they would not only be (which was everywhere at that time of year…) but where the best places would be. She later wrote and told me it was the highlight of their visit to Nashville.
In essence, it was magic.
For me, the reminder that fireflies in summer is magic is a lesson I have not forgotten.
We talk about alchemy and how the alchemist turned lead into gold. Artists are alchemists. Truth is, the gold was always there. Artists just see it and show it to others.
The magic is everywhere. If we do not believe and therefore do not see, it does not exist. But if we do believe in magic, we do see it everywhere. We know it exists.
So, ultimately, we determine whether magic exists.
As artists, what we create comes from that viewpoint.
As for me, I shall sit and watch the lightning bugs of summer. I believe they are magic. And so I shall endeavor to look around and find more magic. And I shall create from that place and that viewpoint.
Does that mean I believe bad things do not exist? On the contrary, all one has to do is to check headlines and updates. These are perilous times.
Perilous times can take our focus and attention away from magic but it cannot eradicate it. In fact, it makes it more essential to find it and reveal it.
I grew up during a time when we had drills in school to get beneath our desks in case of a nuclear attack. And then we would go outside during recess and I would take off my shoes and walk among the dandelions and admire the bees and butterflies. Somehow I was able to assimilate the two as part of a “normal” school day, have my lunch, learn my lessons, and go home to return again.
Believing in magic does not require one to bury one’s head in the sand any more than coming to grips with the tragedies of the world requires the abdications of a belief in magic. They are not mutually exclusive. In fact, for me, the belief in magic is essential to survival.
I am grateful to the lightning bugs. I am grateful for the bees and butterflies, the rippling of streams, the purring of cats and snoring of dogs. I am beholden to sunrises and sunsets and am grateful for each I get to experience. I am blessed to be an artist, however anyone wishes to define that term.
We are surrounded by many things, good and bad.
Magic is one of them.
Believe in it. Find it. Share it through your art.
Excuse me as it is time to go and sit outside.