Thursday, May 26, 2011

Learning to Fly

I must apologize to this poor little blog of mine for the terrible neglect it has experienced this month. I have no excuses, really... I still have my laptop, I still know how to read and write, and there's still magic everywhere to be written about. If anything, I should be writting more, with all the time I've got on my hands at work. I solemnly promise that I shall get with the program from hear on out - both to my blog and to my faithful readers.

My four year old brother Nathan said something particularly striking to me a couple evenings ago. He seemed a little sad - as sometimes he wilfully chooses to be - so I asked him what was wrong. He looked up at me with a sad little sigh and said, "I forgot to learn how to fly."

Now Nathan is a superhero in a little boy's clothing. I'm sure that what he was referring to was something like Clark Kent's version of flight. I, however, was reminded of something else.

You all are familiar with Peter Pan, I am sure - whether through book or stage or silver screen. The little boy from Neverland who never wanted to grow up, who ran around fighting pirates and indians every afternoon, and who lived in a tree with the Lost Boys and a fairy friend named Tinkerbell. The little boy who could fly. "All it takes is faith and trust and a little bit of pixie dust."

I was reminded of a moment at the end of the stage version of Peter's story. Peter returns to the nursery for Wendy, as he does every year at Spring Cleaning time. But the girl he finds there is not Wendy, but her daughter, Jane. Wendy has grown up. Not realizing as much at first, Peter tries to take Wendy with him, but she pulls back, saying, "I can't, Peter. I've forgotten how to fly."

Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

We live in a world where faith and trust have begun to diminish. Science has explained everything, so who needs faith? A person is expected to make something of themselves, be independent, get something done right by doing it themselves - so why keep trust? We have bullet trains and boeing 747s and cars of every assortment of color to get us where we're going. We have money and influence and technology to give us a boost. So who needs to fly?

I would argue that it is simply for the sake of flying.

We continue to have faith because we need to believe in something - anything - to keep ourselves going. We continue to trust because when life begins to press upon us and we cannot keep our footing any more, we need someone else to pick us up and help us finish the journey. We may not have pixie dust, but these needs - these absolute human necessities - help us to fly when everything else in the world is fighting gravity's battle, keeping us anchored to the bustle and pain and weariness of the world. They bring us above it all and give us room to spread our wings and imagine what adventures may lie in wait, just beyond the horizon.

Little children, like my brother, know this better than anyone. A child will believe in anything without anyone telling them to - like faeries and monsters in the closet and Santa Clause at Christmastime. They will run to their mother or father or sibling in a heartbeat, never questioning the safety and comfort those open arms proclaim themselves to offer. They hardly need to be taught - they simply fly, without a thought.

Despite the dark and difficult world we live in, have faith and trust. Don't lose faith, but believe in something. Always remember those who are cheering for you. You are never alone, and must never despair. Though the world may seem bleak, the sun is only moments away from rising.

No matter how old you are or how long you have been away from Neverland, never forget how to fly. You learned as a child. You know how it's done. Just remember, believe in yourself, spread your wings - and soar.

'Til next time, my friends...

Friday, May 13, 2011

Topaz and Ebony Wings

I experienced something yesterday evening that I can only describe as magical - and so, of course, I share it with you.

It was evening. The sun was beginning to cast its last golden rays upon the world. My siblings had been playing with the hose on the deck, so the floorboards were moist. I went out the back door and stood there, on the deck, about to call out to the kids - when I spied something on the boards near my feet. It was a beautiful winged creature - at first glance a butterfly, but on closer inspection more likely a moth - with wings of bright orange and black. It simply sat there, unmoving except for an occasional shift in its wings. Then a moment later it fluttered upwards and flew, making several circles in the air, each time getting closer to the deck - until finally it landed right on my foot.

I froze. I didn't want to break the spell the butterfly had cast in that one act of unknowing trust. If it had been someone else, I don't know what might have happened to the creature. When Nathan saw it outside later on, he actually asked me if he could squash it (he was removed to the indoors in a hurry, suffice it to say). But I had no intent to hurt it. I wanted nothing more than for that moment to stay as long as I could keep it. The little butterfly held very still, sunning its wings (which I later assumed must have been dampened by the hose) upon my very skin, trusting that I would not upset it. I didn't. I held perfectly still for several minutes, watching it intently, until it finally lifted itself and flew to a new spot.

It repeated this cycle several times - take off, circle around, land again - each time touching down on a new part of the deck. I sat there on the quickly-drying floorboards and watched it, trying to hold onto that little piece of magic and preserve it in my memory. It was like seeing a faerie, living and breathing and flying before my very eyes. This gentle creature, with wings that even a strong wind or hard rain could have torn, was allowing me to look upon it, standing quietly by as it exposed itself to the life-giving sun.

That is one kind of magic that fills this world - the little, delicate, beautiful things that fill our lives with color. Even more magical, though, was that moment when the little faerie chose to put its trust in me, if only for a moment. In a world governed so dominantly by the rule of survival of the fittest, it is magical that this little creature - whose wings could be torn to ribbons by even a strong wind or hard rain - should even be alive, let alone that it should choose, by whatever instinct it possesses, to land upon a creature far bigger, stronger and fitter than it, and trust that that creature would not harm it. What faith - or perhaps blindness. I cannot say. I would like to believe that it was faith.

At length, the butterfly's wings were finally dry enough to keep him aloft. He left the deck for the last time and flew toward the roof - where we watched another butterfly join it, and together the pair flew skyward in a dazzling flutter of topaz and ebony wings.

Monday, May 2, 2011

All the Little Live Things

As you can see, Everyday Magic is once again sporting a new suit. I've always loved this template - all the bookshelves on the background. I was thinking about saving it until September, when school begins, but obviously I have changed my mind. I simply couldn't resist.

Unless you live in the far north countries or the southern hemisphere, you will have noticed that Spring has begun to make her annual appearance on Nature's stage. It's usually a quiet piece of blocking - a couple steps onto the back of the stage as Winter is finishing his final soliloquy. Sometimes she will slip into the wings again, but always she returns, each time appearing closer and closer to the spotlight, until Winter can no longer maintain his place. They have a bit of dialogue together, and Winter puts up a good fight - but always he is forced to leave the stage in the end and let Spring have her moment of glory.

I love watching this part of the Seasonal Play. I delight in watching Spring's chorus line dance onto the stage - all the Little Live Things that come with her appearance. The singing birds, the blossoming flowers, the green growing grass, the sweet-smelling buds, the bright blue sky, the fresh winds and new rain - all beneath the gaze of the smiling sun by day and a sea of stars by night. Such a beautiful cast dancing across such a dazzling stage! And all happening just beyond your doorstep. What a miracle!

This performance is happening beneath your very feet, and before your very eyes. However, this play does not come with a playbill or ticket which you could take home to attest to your attendance. You have only yourself and the play. I encourage you not to let it pass by. Go out into the world, dance on that same stage with the Little Live Things that have returned to your world once again. Be part of Spring's entourage before she gives way to Summer. It is a beautiful season, filled with more magnificence and mystery than any man-made production could claim. "Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." Go don the beauty of the lilies, rejoice in the new birth of the new season, and become one of the Little Live Things of the world Spring has created.

'Til next time, my friends - blessings go with you.