Wednesday, February 13, 2008
what little I know of magic
When I was six-years-old I received a magic kit for Christmas. Rather, it was a plastic black box with three compartments, a curtain, and a little red ball. It didn’t take my stubby little fingers too terribly long to learn the trick of making the ball start in one compartment, and then - by *magic* - leap! into another. My parents stood all amazed at my first kitchen table-side performance, and understandably so. It was amazing. Only six, and already I was tossing the laws of physics to the wind - a female Houdini but with considerable more freckles. On the strength of that one performance I signed up to audition for a spot in the St. Michael’s Elementary School talent show. On audition day I was excused from Mrs. Someone-or-other’s first grade classroom to head down, alone, to the gymnasium where auditions were being held – plastic black box under my arm, little red ball in my stubby little fist. Clearly, I remember pushing open the heavy gym doors to see a sea of kids mingling on the basketball court, awaiting their auditions. It was then - as I watched them walking through their dance routines, heard them tuning their instruments, and realized how very old they all were in comparison to me- that I looked down at my silly little black box and pathetic little red ball and realized what deep down I already knew: this isn’t magic, and I had absolutely no stage presence. And so I turned around - box still under arm, ball still in fist – and did what any little girl who values her dignity would do. I left.

So, perhaps that wasn’t magic. But, maybe this was:

It was a few years later when I seriously began doubting the existence of Santa Claus. Hesitant to believe that the entire world – every relative, friend, teacher, filmmaker, song writer…everyone – could be collaborating on such an elaborate hoax, I decided to perform by own test. While drifting off to sleep that Christmas Eve, I said a prayer. Aware that secret agents just might be listening in, it was a prayer spoken silently in my head. I, rather politely, asked Santa Claus to prove himself. If I woke up on Christmas Day with that book I wanted on the foot of my bed, then I’d go on believing. If I woke up to nothing more there than my dog, I’d stop. And you know what? That book was there when I woke up - right at the foot of my bed, per my request. To this day I don’t know how my parents knew to do that, and - not wanting to taint that moment’s awe – I’ve never been tempted to ask.

According to Christopher McCandless: “If we admit that human life can be ruled by reason, then all possibility of life is destroyed.” On one hand, McCandless died starved and alone in a broken down bus in the Alaskan wilderness. On the other hand, it is an awfully pretty thing to say.

As for me, I may no longer be able to transfer little red balls through space, nor do I still believe in Santa Claus; however, I do know this: I would much prefer to live in a world where magic is possible than in one where it is not.


Blogger Abs said...

Aww, what a pretty reflection. I loved reading your post!

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