Posted by: Nancy | June 20, 2010

It’s not magic

I found myself enjoying some extraordinary experiences recently, and I was delighted to relive the magical moments and the feeling they sparked.

One occurred while visiting a friend who lives in a remote corner of the city, who happens to have a property that abuts a small lake, fed by three streams. It’s an older house, simple and gracious, and it’s obvious that my friends there spend most of their time outdoors.  He took me on little walk through the property — first down to the lakebed, where I spotted the snapping turtles near the Russian iris in bloom, around little mounded flower bed overflowing and lush, then curving along the stream over to the upper gardens. Rounding the curve, there’s a sudden surprise — delight everywhere you look. From the tidy vegetable garden to the abundant roses and old-fashioned treats (pawpaws, buckeyes, Japanese dogwood, clematis, phlox, giant lilies and dozens more, both native and exotic) it was moment after moment of glorious exploration touching, smelling, joyous appreciation of this otherworldly garden. There were birds everywhere and we were on watch for a snake and other woodland critters, all the more fun. A magical moment.

A second moment that overwhelmed was under vastly different circumstances. We were attending a Bach Aria Soloists concert, held in the ample living room of a neighbor and acquaintance. There were about 60 people in this front room, listening in rapt attention to the beautiful music. Then, a cello solo —  Bach’s Suite No. 4, one of my most favorites. I felt as though the world dissolved for a moment and all that existed was this extraordinary sound, threading and hanging in the air, wafting and dissolving. I closed my eyes and held hands with my beloved and savored the moment, filled with joy.

A third moment was almost a blending of the other two — a combination of a beautiful vast horizon of undulating lush hills all around, and the Kansas City Symphony. I was happy just with the vista, watching the cattle and the wild swallows at dusk, the occasional cowboy riding along in or out of the view. I was enjoying this with some 3000 other people, quietly relaxing on blankets or foldout chairs, on this natural amphitheater-like hillside.

As I relived these moments later, it occurred to me that I was missing something. These were not random moments, but the result of hours and hours of devotion and passion. There was work, heartfelt work, handprints on each, that made the difference. I was the beneficiary of the passion that went into each of those magical moments.

Was it work? Or a slow accumulation of invested dedication and passion? There need not be a difference, I understand, between working and living, between labor and labor of love.

It’s not magic at all.

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