Since I was a little girl, I’ve believed in magic. My understanding of it has changed over time, but my belief in it has persisited. When I was a child, I called that magic “Santa Claus,” “Easter Bunny,” “mom,” and “dad.” As I’ve grown up, I’ve learned other names for it, like “love” and “friendship.” Some magic I’ve learned about can’t be named, only felt. I feel magic in certain secret places in the woods, near water. I feel it brush along my skin when I hear poems that speak to my soul. I feel it in the warmth of bonfires and in the coolness of an autumn evening. I see it in the white fur on my dog’s face, white fur that wasn’t there before. I taste it when a new flavor melts on my tongue. I hear it in my grandfather’s voice, long gone, but not forgotten.
One type of magic that has never changed for me is that magic of books. Before I continue, I want to be clear that I’m not talking in metaphors here. I literally mean magic, which is defined as “1. Of, relating to, or invoking the supernatural. 2. Possessing distinctive qualities that produce unaccountable or baffling effects.”
Science fiction talks about transporters and tardises, of teleportation and apparation, but only books transport you somewhere else, somewhere you can really feel the wind on your face, the sun on your skin. I’ve smelled smoke and caramel. I’ve heard birds sing and voices speak to me. When I finish a book that really means something to me, I can tell that I’ve changed. The magic that is contained within the pages is hard to describe to someone who’s never felt it. To some people, books are just books, and words are just words.
I’ll admit that not every book contains magic. I’ve read some where the spell flickers and fizzles, and some where I never even get a whiff of any magic at all. It can be hard to tell which ones will have magic by the cover. Sometimes a book I thought would be utterly ordinary weaves a spell so intricate that it never quite lets go. And other times, a book I was convinced would show me new things was merely a bunch of pages and words after all.
That’s why I write. I feel the magic in my fingertips at times, and can almost capture the feelings of prisms in my brain. There are times when I write that I’m transported and transformed at the same time. There are times when I hear music in my head, and my senses are on hyper alert. And there are other times when everything fades so completely into the background that I’m not really sure where my body is anymore.
Because I pay attention and believe, I sometimes find magic in surprising places. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t there for everyone, just that we all have choices on what to see and what not to. Magic is easy to ignore, and if you ignore it, sometimes you start to believe it’s no longer there.
My understanding of magic has changed, but luckily, just as much continues to be a mystery. Magic should never be separated from mystery.
Where do you find magic?