What’s Magic?


Mason: Dad, there's no real magic in the world, right?

Dad: What do you mean?

Mason: You know, like elves and stuff. People just made that up.

Dad: Oh, I don't know. I mean, what makes you think that elves are any more magical than something like a whale? You know what I mean? What if I told you a story about how underneath the ocean, there was this giant sea mammal that used sonar and sang songs and it was so big that its heart was the size of a car and you could crawl through the arteries? I mean, you'd think that was pretty magical, right?

from the movie, Boyhood

I don’t know when or how it happened. I wish it hadn’t, but it did. We lost the ability to perceive our own magic. We forgot how beautiful the trees were in the spring and how clean the air feels after the rain. We looked away from lake in the morning when the sunrise was reflecting off the water. We stopped holding hands because our hands were too full, and we didn’t ride our bikes anymore because we could drive. We forgot to look at each other because there were other things to look at. We stopped talking and feeling things because we could type it out instead. We stopped being individuals and just became people.

Somehow, at some point, we forgot that we had magic. We look to stories and fantasies and imaginary things to find it, but we forgot. We forgot that magic isn’t imaginary. Magic is a touch. A hug. That feeling in your chest. The sun. The moon. Our eyes. Our hands. 

Magic is that feeling, that we all know. The one between you and your friend. You and your sister, your parents. The one you feel when you’re with your grandparents. When you look at that person and smile. It isn’t something you can touch or perceive, but you know it’s there. I don’t think I even need to explain it any more. You know what magic is. And you know it’s right there, always present, always surrounding you. The magic that you and I both know is far better than anything you can make up, read about, or imagine. But you know that already.