… on real life magic (and joy)


Breakfast with Friends

It’s snowing again.

This time, the weather prognosticators are saying we’ll get another foot, maybe more, on top of the three feet we got the other day.

I didn’t need the famous (and rather cute) groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, to tell me that we will most likely have six more weeks of winter.

But he did.

Freakin’ rat.

In the mean time…

My porch is once again covered.

The fences are disappearing beneath white.

Roofs remind me of iced gingerbread houses.

This morning, early, I headed out into the storm to fill bird feeders.


To put seed in containers so that birds don’t have to work as hard as they might, without it.

Do my local wing-ed creatures view this as magic – that seed suddenly appears out of nowhere, in odd-looking food trees?

Probably not.

They are birds.

I talk a lot about magic in its various forms, including wonder and joy.

Last week, I was talking with a friend, who was wondering if I was drifting toward fantasy when I talk about these things here.

I don’t think so, because here’s why.

When I write about magic or wonder or joy…. or love or delight or rejoicing or – well, you get the picture –  I’m talking about amazing feelings and happenings, all of which are real.

And possible.

For everyone?

Maybe not.

But I like to believe that it is at least realizable.

Even if only in the smallest moments.

Even in areas of great famine or poverty, or war or persecution.

Human beings are amazing at being able to transcend their circumstances, and find – often in the most trying of times – joy and wonder, love and hope.

When I talk about magic, I’m almost always talking about people.

Sure, I love twinkle lights and fireflies, but mostly it’s about people.

It’s not Cinderella’s castle at Disney, but the look in the eyes of a child as she sees it for the very first time, that is the magic for me.

And looking on as a parent sees the wonder on their kid’s face?  I’m moosh.

These are simple moments. Flashes really.

But they’re great, and sweet, and happenings to savor.

It’s not that I don’t see the stressed parents, or the screaming kids (often picking up on the stressed parents, who pick it back up from the kids… a vicious cycle for sure). But that’s not where I focus.


It’s a good question. And one I’ve thought a lot about.

I think it’s because I have lived through enough stuff, from a childhood that might (and did) break others who experienced it, to coming very close to losing a child more than once, to loosing my entire immediate family long before their time… I have a sense of what’s important.

If I come across a kid having a tantrum in the rain?

I’m going to work like crazy to show him the joys of splashing in a puddle.


No one has to tell me to stop and smell the roses.

The roses are in my face –  front and center and poignantly fragrant – all the time.

It’s not about ignoring – or being oblivious to – the tougher parts of my own life, nor that many of my fellow human beings are struggling far more than I have, or ever will.

Living a joyful life, in my humble opinion, is in acknowledging all of these things, living with and through our own tough stuff, and helping others with their tough stuff where we can…

It’s knowing and doing this, while still making the effort to see the beauty in life, and taking whatever moments we can to bask in that light… the miracle of it, the magic of it.

The joy of it.

And if someone else is having trouble finding that light?

Taking his or her hand.

Sometimes it is with a good thought, or a prayer.

Other times it is as simple as being there for a friend.

Or as complicated as caring for a loved one, possibly for years.

Maybe it’s doing good works toward making the world a better place – in little ways or in big ways.

There is joy, and wonder, and hope, and love, and inspiration to be found in all of these things, even during the darkest hours.

Of the darkest days.

Some people would call this – the light that survives the darkest shadows – magic.

I do.

And I can also find it on the best of days, in full sunlight.

Some days it is a little harder to find, some days easier.

But I know it when I feel it.

Real life magic.

I can even find it in a snowstorm.

New England birds are hardy.

They don’t really need me.

But I like to think what I did this morning helped them out, just a little bit.

Right now, I’m watching my chirp-y and feather-y breakfast buddies hop from branch to branch in the leaf-bare bushes around the feeders, the snow pouring down all around them  And I’m smiling.

Because even if birds don’t consider the sudden appearance of seed on a snowy day, as being magical…

I don’t mind if I do.

Thanks for readin’

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