Sunday, January 07, 2007

A Little Magic Goes A Long Way

My children (and I sort of peripherally) are enjoying a movie called "5 Children and It," a delightful story about five English children shipped off to the country home of a nutty uncle (Kenneth Branaugh) during World War I. No, it's not Narnia, with a magical housekeeper named Martha who knows more than she lets on and an a Charles Adamsesque cousin aptly named Horace. Buried in the greenhouse on the grounds of the family home is the doorway to a wide rocky beach, home to a mischievous creature that identifies itself as a sand faerie and which the children lovingly call "It." The story is full of magic and wonderful moments of what "It" calls "valuable lessons."

It seems to me that children never allow themselves much time to experience this kind of magical troublemaking anymore. Left to our imaginations as children, my sister and I wandered over our grounds for hours, with no parent ever wandering after us (hm, wonder why!). My brothers confessed that our parents let them stay out all night in the woods with a canteen -- something that might be unheard of today without a mobile phone or a pair of those wee walkie talkies.

The movie is not without its serious moments. Horace locks the children up in a tower. On a wish to see his father, flying in France, Robert and his brothers and sisters sprout wings, escaping Horace's grasp only to bump into a flock of German dirigibles. When they are safely landed, they learn their father has gone missing behind enemy lines.

Wishing has its dangers. And as It says, magic fades, the rest is up to us.

At my age, I still believe in wishing, although I probably should be more careful. But what can I say, the Christmas tree is still up. I'll never fully be able to shake the magic, the wonder. As I watched my kids play yesterday with an uncle, I realized, wow--these are my kids. They're really amazing, and seeing them that way felt fairly magical. They are people all on their own, and they are who they are partly because of me. And they will go on and maybe look at their own children the way I looked at them that day, long after I'm just sand on the beach. That's cool.

As much as I suspect it annoys a number of people who have varying degrees of contact with me, I'm capable of seeing the "magical", the momentousness, the wonder or the good side of just about any situation. I do wish more people could, although they probably don't meet with quite as much personal disappointment as I do. But I guess I wouldn't have it any other way. I want my kids to hope, to look forward to things, to imagine their lives any way they want regardless of what conditions they find themselves in. I want....I wish for them to find joy in things exactly as they are and still be able to dream.

For a while now I've been sort of announcing changes I'm making in my life with a humorous, sometimes tongue in cheek referral to these shifts, calling it "a new day" in my little life. Funny that's the name of Claire Lynch's latest release, which I've written about on a couple of occasions. There's a sweet little song near the end of that album that, like many of the songs, are just so hopeful it's almost sappy. But a little of that magical hopeful sappiness I think can be ok in small, effectively targeted doses.

Here's one called River of Dreams and I hope you enjoy it. I had a wonderful exhausting weekend with my sibs and cousins and I'm going to retire leaving you with just the clip.

Make a wish, dream a little dream, don't give up on the magic, which will fade soon enough.


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