You know those dates in history when people remember exactly where they were when they heard the news on that day? Like JFK’s assassination, or the moment war was declared? My generation remembers where we were when the Space Shuttle Columbia exploded (sitting in a high school class, I remember staring at the speaker on the wall in surprise as the principal announced the news), or when we first heard about the attack on the World Trade Center (our friend who lived in Philadelphia woke us up and told us to go turn on the TV).
But there are other moments in life, completely opposite to these disastrous ones. These I call my Magic Moments. These are the ones in which suddenly I am completely aware of my surroundings and seem to wake up and notice the magic in that single, simple, unforgettable moment.
One of these moments happened at the dog park last summer. George and I were alone at the park and he ran around while I sat enjoying the quiet. A butterfly flew by me, its white wings glowing in the sun. Then there was another, and another, and before I knew it the air around me was filled with thousands of white wings, glimmering against the blue sky. The large "flock" of butterflies took probably a minute or two to fly by me, and I sat there the whole time with my mouth hanging open in surprise and a goofy smile on my face. I kept looking around for someone to share it with, but I was alone in the large park – the only one to witness the parade of nature passing by me.
My Mom once told me about the Magic Moment she had when she was about 25 and flew alone to Korea to stay with my Dad who was stationed there. When the plane flew over Japan she had a full view of Mt. Fuji from her window. It was so beautiful she kept thinking she should reach down and get her camera, but she didn’t want to take her eyes from the beautiful scene in front of her long enough to get it. It was that entrancing to her. Definitely Magic.
Other Magic Moments in my life:
- Driving in a taxi in the middle of remote Chile and stepping out onto a dirt road to look at the stars with four reknowned astronomers
- Sitting on a wall of the Acropolis and noticing the sounds of the city below me – an occasional dog barking, the distant hum of traffic
- Walking in line to get my Master’s diploma during Commencement at Regis University in Denver and almost crying because it hit me how lucky I was
- Sitting in the audience of a musical in Louisville when I was nineteen and realizing everything that truly mattered to me in life was right there in that building: Mom, my friends, and the theatre
- Waiting in the wings in the white-blue light before my entrance in The Nutcracker’s Snow Scene, amazed that I was about to dance in the very show I had seen every year as a child
- Waiting in my high school hallway, in line for our first commencement rehearsal, and hearing "Pomp and Circumstance" inside the gymnasium for the first time
- Walking to the train station in Vicenza, Italy at 5am, through deserted cobblestone Medieval streets, hearing our footsteps echoing for blocks through foggy silence
Of course many moments in my life have been magical, such as getting married to my husband in Hawaii, getting my first professional theatre role, or simply being at home with my husband and feeling lucky to have what we have. Those are of course magical, but those aren’t what I’m talking about. My Magic Moments come out of the blue and hit me in the gut, awakening me in a different way. For me they come as a welcome surprise.
I'm wishing you all many moments of peace, butterflies, and Mt. Fuji.