You think magic died out with the dragons, don’t you? Or maybe you think there never were any dragons to begin with. You think magic only happens in stories, and even then you turn up your nose at it. Like you’re so high and mighty, so much better than a golden genie lamp or a bubbling potion of liquid love. You stopped believing in magic when you were seven. When you wished upon a star for something that never came true.
What you don’t realize is that there is magic: good magic and bad magic and everything in between, and it’s all around us, all the time. Just last week, when you walked out of your apartment building into the balmy twilight, and all the streetlights came on at the very moment your soles hit the sidewalk. You say that’s not magic?
What about yesterday, when your cell phone rang, and you knew, just knew, in the marrow of your bones, before you even looked at the caller id, who it was. Even though you hadn’t talked to that person in such a long time and you thought she’d never call you again, you knew. And you were right. You think there wasn’t just a little bit of magic in all of that?
What about this morning, when you had a dream that you were flying. In the dream, you were you, but from a long time ago, when your hair was still thick and your face still smooth. You ran fast on skinny legs down a country lane, and suddenly, your feet were no longer touching the ground, and you glided down the dirt path, moving forward, but also moving up, slowly, like an escaped balloon. You stretched out across the sky, arms spread, soaring over the tree tops, and looking down at the little house you lived in as a child.
Then the alarm went off, and you woke up to your clock-radio blasting that song that goes “fly like an eagle, let my spirit carry me.” And for a moment it seemed surreal, to find yourself, not in the air above the trees, but cozy in your bed, listening to the Steve Miller Band. And your sleepy brain thought, yeah, time really does keep on slippin, slippin, slippin into the future. And every second that you lay in bed, you’re a second older, a second wiser, a second closer to death. And doesn’t that seem like magic? A bad magic, and a good magic, and a beautiful-sad-happy-ugly magic all rolled into one. The way you grow and change and turn from one person into someone completely different without ever really noticing that it happened.
Then you took a steamy hot shower, and while you shampooed, that dream about flying, it just slipped right out of your head, like it had never been there in the first place. And that’s a bad sort of magic, the kind that makes you forget your dreams. If you could remember every dream you’ve ever dreamed, you would understand. You would know the past, the present, and the future, just as well as you know the lyrics to classic rock songs.
But sometimes, on certain days, as you’re doing your everyday activities, you get a glimpse of something from one of your dreams: a bluebird at your windowsill, a red leaf floating in a puddle. And it all comes back to you in a flash, and for one, fleeting moment, you understand. Déjà vu you call it. That’s the good sort of magic. The kind to look out for. The kind you need to hold onto whenever it comes your way.