Today, walking through the mountains on an early spring day, I happened upon an aspen glen that was just coming into leaf after a long, cold, snowy winter. The delicate new green leaves shimmered in the sun. The wind turned the closely packed tree trunks into an enormous wooden harp. Forest birds flitted about, chirping gaily as if the whole mountainside wanted to sing out at the coming of spring.
My camera around my neck, I tried in vain to take even one meaningful photograph. But, every time I snapped a close up of the sun on the leaves or circled the glade while shooting a video, nothing could come close to capturing the essence of the moment. Every time I tried to zoom in on one of the lovely songbirds, it would quickly flit away, hiding behind a tree limb or soaring somewhere beyond my view. Frustrated, I wished I could just wave a magic wand and utter a spell to draw the birds and keep them close.
Not being in possession of a magic wand, I sat myself down, removed my pack from my shoulders and my camera from my neck and resolved to simply enjoy the aspen grove in peace for just a little longer. Gazing up at the sky through the tree limbs, breathing deeply to inhale the cool, crisp mountain air, I tried not to think at all but just to soak in the fresh air, the sunshine, the sound of the wind in the leaves— the sights, sounds, and smells of springtime in the mountains.
And, that’s when the magic started. First, a pair of robins flew by overhead. Then, the bright blue crest of a Steller’s jay appeared from behind a limb. A dozen sparrows began to dart about, paying little or no attention to the stinky, sweaty human intruder they had previously sought to avoid.
In not much time at all, a tiny, feathered friend perched on a rock so close to me that I could nearly reach out and touch it. It didn’t flinch when I slowly turned to admire its delicate beauty. Perhaps it was just my imagination, but my little momentary friend seemed as curious about me as I was about it.
Another hiker wandered down the path, and the magical moment was lost forever. Although, I shared with him a few thoughts about the beauty of the glade. And, he kindly shared with me the names of the flowers blooming along the path—enchanted names like anemone and Indian paintbrush (a single, unseasonably early blossom) and purple aster.
No, there are no such things as magic wands. We can’t just cast a spell and be instantly gratified. But, we can make our own magic. We need to slow down, pay attention, and recognize the magic that’s always there, right before our eyes. If we open our minds and hearts, the magic will come to us and maybe we can even become just a little bit magical, ourselves.