Thursday, December 31, 2009

There is Magic in the Air

J. Scott Savage, author of the wonderful Farworld series of fantasy novels, uses the phrase “Find Your Magic” to encourage his young and old readers to find the special talents and abilities they have within them. Savage writes about worlds full of magic and intrigue. He may be one of those lucky individuals who believe that our own world is still full of magic.

Both my grandmothers were such individuals.

Grandma Martin believed that leprechaun still lived in the forest of Ireland, and fairies could be found hiding in a bed of nasturtiums if you knew where to look. Well into her eighties, my grandma declared her conviction in the reality of both Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny. And I spent long afternoons curled next to her as she read me poetry and told stories from her own youth.

My Grandma Martha, on the other hand, believed in the magic of nature. She could take me on long walks in the meadows where she lived and name the wild flowers we encountered on the trail. She knew of spots where sweet artesian water bubbled to the surface of the ground and you could press you face against the cool watercress and drink to your heart’s content. And it was through her direction that I found how to crawl down under the blackberry bushes to the large metal culvert below, and sit for hours listening to the water flow below my feet eating juicy berries till my stomach was full.

So, as a grandma myself, I have been trying to think of the magic in my own life that I can pass down to my grandchildren. And though I do have quite a vivid imagination and a love for the out of doors, I find that my magic tends to be more earthy and domestic.

I believe in alchemy. Perhaps I can’t turn lead into gold, but I can do something even greater. If I mix sugar, butter, milk and chocolate I can create a fudge that is so creamy your tongue will think it’s died and gone to heaven. And if I add some eggs, flour, baking soda and salt then stick it in the oven… the scent alone will gather my family together in the kitchen like a magic spell.

I believe in poltergeists; evil spirits who lurk in my house and cause mayhem and chaos while I sleep. For instance, I can clean my kitchen spotlessly before I go to bed, and by the time I get up the next morning, the sink is full of dirty dishes, the floor is covered with crumbs and an unexplained puddle of honey adorns one corner of the counter. Some might blame it on a house full of teenagers, but I know otherwise.

I believe in whitelighters, (beings made famous in the TV series Charmed) or guardian angels. These creatures help bring out the best in their charges and help them when they’re in trouble. Except I call them Mom and Dad.

I believe in ogres, invisible monsters that lurk in strange places, like say the drier, and eat huge quantities of unsuspecting clothing. The jeans your daughter has to wear to the party tonight or your husband’s best golfing shirt. But although the ogres will eat anything, by far their favorite treat is single socks, preferably new ones without holes.

I believe we live in a world that is crazy and unpredictable. Natural disasters can destroy the lives of thousands in the blink of an eye, and man-made violence is even worse. Life is fragile and peace is often fleeting. And as we reach our adult years, it becomes painfully clear how little control we actually have over the events that shape us. In a world such as this, I think a little magic can go a long way to enhancing our lives and the lives of those we love.

I think that’s the magic within me that I will be passing down.

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