When we are young, we are often in awe of the world around us. Everything is new, and very little is understood. It leads us to be spell bound by the simplest of things: the marvel of a butterfly floating through the garden, the enchantment of the shapes clouds form on a sunny day, and the wonder as our favourite characters come to life on the TV screen. At that time in our lives it was so easy to believe in magic.
As we grew, we saw these things more and more causing the novelty to wear off. Our understanding of why and how these things happen deepens, and viewing these phenomena became less of a source of awe and more of an expectation. The world began to lose its lustre.
Often this occurrence surprises me. How is it that learning more about the incredible genius and versatility of the natural world lessens our view of it as magic? It is a wonder that seeing the connections between every entity in an ecosystem, and ultimately the entirety of the earth doesn’t leave us spell bound.
Learning that a caterpillar becomes a butterfly is astounding to a young mind, but as this mind grows older astonishment is replaced by indifference. After all a butterfly is just another mundane occurrence in the world. But, perhaps studying the everyday can bring back the magic of the world. Garnering within each of us a strong appreciation, humility and gratitude towards the greater world.
Looking back on the early days of human history small groups produced wonderful things. Homes were built in open fields or in closed in forests, plants were gathered providing nourishment, animals were hunted each piece adding comfort to life, and children were born and raised. It is incredible to think what a small gathering of hands with the right materials and a little bit of know how could create: a space where life was sustained.
It was an occurrence of global proportions allowing our species to thrive, and eventually leading to the world we know today. Think of the walls holding the roof over your head, the currents moving through the wires seen solely through the outlets in your walls as these currents are keeping the temperature comfortable and your food cold, the pipes running unseen allowing water to flow from your kitchen and bathroom taps. Each of these has roots to those homes created with the simplest of materials. This is a piece of magic. Our capacity to innovate and improve is magic at work. Who knew that it didn’t come from a wave of the wand, but instead from connections and understanding.
But my favourite kind of magic and source of awe, is from the feelings that experiences produce. Experiences like the warmth of sitting in the sun after a long cold winter, the sense of ease brought by a cup of coffee on an early morning, a feeling of belonging after an evening out with friends and the way a fresh blanket of snow quiets the world making everything feel peaceful.
The ability of experiences to produce these feelings is, in my eyes, filled with wonder. A wonder which does not ignore feelings of annoyance, frustration and sadness –the feelings we tend to perceive with negativity. These too have their place in producing magic. If moments weren’t obscured by such feelings, we would not be able to recognize the joys in the everyday. If everything was joyful than nothing would be joyful at all.
So, take each moment and thought in stride, appreciating all that is has to offer, and know that examining and understanding the everyday makes beauty easier to find, connections more easily understood, and appreciation more easily fostered. Each of these things coming together to bring a little bit of magic back into our lives.
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
― Albert Einstein