Monday, November 8, 2010

Ordinary Magic

Sometimes life is magical. I'm not referring to Frodo-and-the-ring or unicorn blood magic, I'm talking about the amazing little miracles that take place each day. The ones we take for granted because they are so commonplace.

For example, the bumblebee. The yellow-banded snappy dresser of the insect world, the Volkswagen bus with tiny gossamer wings. I love everything about this creature. Perhaps it's because of the noise it makes as it floats from blossom to blossom, sounding a bit like good-natured complaining. Think about their distinct reverberation . . .

"Bzzz, bzzz. I should have stopped three flowers ago. Bzzz, bzzz, bzzz. That last bit of nectar went straight to my hips. Bzzz."

Captivated by this humble bee, I grew up believing the legend that said they were a scientific anomaly, that they shouldn't technically be able to fly as they lacked aerodynamic properties. During the 1990s, however, a group of scientists got together to debunk this myth. They proved that bumblebees could indeed achieve lift due to their wing function, similar to the way a helicopter flies. Their work was then challenged by other researchers who contended that the previous findings still didn't adequately explain the bumble's abilities.

Oblivious to the controversy, the hairy pollen bandit continues to do the job it was made to do, and I continue being charmed by it.

And don't forget the bulb's perennial magic. We plant them in the cold autumn earth, throw a little freezing water their way, and then forget all about them until spring. They don't look like magic at all. They look like dried-up shrunken heads with stringy topknots. Judging on appearance alone, the bulb is always underestimated, but once the snows melt, these papery stems emerge in all their radiant elegance and color.

And my favorite magic of all is the one I sometimes overlook because I live with it each day. There are times when I feel like the Les Stroud of parenting, as though my only goal is to survive for the next few days. That's when I forget the magic because I'm tired and rundown and overworked. But magic has a way of reminding you it's there.

A good example of this is when I take my youngest child down the street to catch the school bus. I watch him run ahead, leaving me behind as he races toward his friends and independence. I wave as the bus pulls away and at the last moment, my small kindergarten man turns and waves back. Unfailingly, my heart gives a painful, sentimental tug, and I am so grateful to be a part of this remarkable young person's life.

It's been the same with each of my children as they grow up and move on. When they return home, I am always amazed that they are happy to see me, a plain middle-aged woman with wild hair and a dubious sense of fashion. And yet, they are. And I hope they always will be, these glorious children of mine. I am thankful beyond measure for a heart that sometimes hurts a little because it loves so big.

Magic, magic, magic . . . It's all around us.

During this month of Thanksgiving, what are you thankful for?


  1. I'm thankful for my family and my writing shoes. They are all so good to me. =)

  2. Roxy, of course your children will always be happy to see you. You're the mother and the plain fact of life is that no one is more precious than our mother.

    I like bumble bees too. If only they wouldn't sting me. I get a horrible reaction and puff up like a blowfish.


  3. Thankful for new opportunities and the unexpected about to happen. :O)

  4. Ah, yes, children... the greatest miracle of all.

  5. You?!?! A woman of dubious fashion and wild hair?!?! Jamais!!!! You're just retro and they are so IN these days!!!

    I love love love bees - bless them!!! And even a spider's web is pretty magical! And I love how bulbs are perennial!! Plant one and they are there for life!!!!

    Awww your kids are pretty magical cos they have a magical mum and dad!! And Daniel Craig.

    Take care

  6. Great post! It's true there are so many magical things we take for granted every day. Even though it's raining today, it's pretty awesome that every weekend for the past 5 or 6 have been bright, blue, and sunny.

  7. My kids, my family, my health, my job, my writing.
    Great post!

  8. Awwww, what a great post. I am just sending mine out as adults these past three years, and my secret wish is that they will always love me.

  9. What a wonderful ode to your children! Loved reading this post! :)

  10. Oh, I got a little teary. I know that feeling of sending them off, thinking they are happy to run away from me, then turn back with a wave, or a very quiet "love you, too."