Common Magic

I used to make clouds disappear. When I was small I would wander out on high sky summer days and lie down in the grass to watch clouds skim across the sky. I’d tell myself that there were pirate ships in them, great bears or carousels or that they were the exhalations of a dragon’s breath.

            I was a foster kid then and I’d grown used to being alone. But the time I spent watching the sky was never a lonely time for me. Instead, I had the company of my imagination and all the incredible stories and creatures I saw in the clouds. It was magical. But I discovered my own particular kind of magic.

            I could make clouds disappear. I’d lay there and watch and when a wispy cloud appeared, I’d hold my arms up in front of my face and blow sharply on my wrists. Then, while I kept my eyes on that small cloud, I’d rub them together in a counter-clockwise circle and concentrate and watch and eventually, that little cloud would vanish.

I always laughed then. Always felt like the world’s greatest magician. Always felt happy, content and never lonely.

Oh, I knew that it was just the wind. Even as a kid I was cognizant of the everyday science of things around me. But for that brief moment I allowed myself to slip out of the hold of rules and knowledge and accepted belief. I allowed myself the freedom to believe in the power of ordinary magic, allowed myself to be a kid who lived beyond all of that.

 Well, things change as they always do and life began its swells and buckles and turns and I found myself suddenly a grown man in grownup world that’s far too short on everyday magic. There are bills to pay, chores that beg doing, worries, problems and a life to be tended to and nurtured.

It’s all so busy. But when I take the time to wander out and find a quiet place in the sunshine, I can still make clouds disappear. I can still move myself beyond accepted rules and order. I can still come to believe in an ordinary magical all around me.

That’s the trick of it, really, this life. To never forget that we carry a common practical magic within us; that we are star dust and we carry comets and whirlwinds inside of us. That we are all magical beings – and we always were.


About Richard Wagamese

I am a published author with 13 titles published by major Canadian publishers. I am a First Nations person from the Ojibway Nation in Northwestern, Ontario, Canada. As a professional writer since 1979 I have written for newspaper, radio television, magazines and book publishing. I love the culture of books and the people who populate it. 2012 recipient of the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Media & Communications. View all posts by Richard Wagamese

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