Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ho Ho Ho - It's Magic

Christmas Eve 1980. My sister-in-law Mary took my nephew Homer downstairs to read him a book. Homer was just a few days shy of being four years old. That's when three elves - Mom, my brother John, and myself - sprang into action. Mom and I hauled presents out from their previous hiding places and stuffed them under the tree. John dipped a pair of boots in the fireplace ashes and made sooty footprints across the hearth. Once we had everything in place, John stomped around, making noise like someone heavy clomping across the floor. I gently rang an old cowbell as John, in his best booming baritone, shouted, "Merrrrrrrry Christmas! Ho ho ho ho!!"

In seconds we heard Mary and Homer on the stairs. We watched as Homer, wide-eyed with wonder came to the top of the steps. Mary said, "I think that was Santa that we heard..." Mom said, "We heard it too! I think he was in the living room!" With that, we walked to the living room, Homer leading the way. His eyes went from the sooty prints to the tree. Upon seeing the presents, with a cry of delight and in a flash, he was across the room and diving for the tree.

This is one of my treasured Christmas memories. Did we dupe Homer? Of course we did. But, he's nearly 34 now and doesn't seem overly traumatized by the whole thing. My gift that year was seeing that look of wonder on Homer's face, of watching his uninhibited delight.

I often think back on that moment and wonder just where it is along the way that we lose that kind of innocence, and why? When does the magic disappear for so many of us, and why?

As cynical and sarcastic as I can be, I still know that kind of magic in my life. I still experience that wide-eyed wonder on an almost daily basis. Is it a choice? Somewhat, because I'm not naïve. I'm not blind to how harsh existence can be, nor am I without some deep scars from the cruel side of the Universe.

I'm beginning to think that it is, quite simply, a gift. Maybe it's a gift that the Universe gave me in exchange for some of the hard, ugly stuff it put me through. Nevertheless, it is a gift. I somehow proved myself worthy enough, or landed on the good side of some mystical benevolence, that allows me to see the magic, that allows me to remain unjaded. Because I still, with everything in me...

... believe in love, deep unconditional love
... believe in dreams and dreams coming true (if we'll let them)
... believe in the wonder of a single blade of grass
... believe in watching the clouds for shapes
... believe in howling at the full moon
... believe in the basic goodness of mankind

I believe in magic.


  1. I saw a perfect snowflake last night when I was out walking the dog. It was somehow apart from the other snowflakes, even though there were (and are!) many. It was solitary and beautiful and looked like it had been cut from glass. Magic. It's all around us.

  2. You find it because you still dare to look where the rest of the world rushes by.


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