“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan


Looking Past the Magic

Sometimes in the early evening I hear the owls.

It's back
, I think to myself, that magic that used to be here, that magic that used to lure me out into the night, that magic I could just inhale, could just feel as it entered my soul, shooing away all the work-a-day tiredness, the everyday frustrations. But it flies on past on silent wings and is gone.

Mary's wisteria did not bloom this year, back in the back of her sideyard - usually a 15 foot flowerfall of lavender encircling the birdhouse - and it seemed to signal this unwanted change that has settled over our little block. Perhaps I have been too busy, I tell myself, perhaps I've just been looking past it, perhaps the magic is still there, but I know the truth - I feel the difference in the air. Perhaps it's because Mary's usually empty driveway is now occupied by at least one car. Blocking the energy flow - bad feng shui; the energy that was once able to flow around her house, through the azaleas & cannas & camellias & red Turkish caps, the Rose of Sharon, the hydrangeas, the sweet olive, the yellow roses, through the unnamed blue flowers, the daffodils, the paperwhites - that energy that would then whoosh across her back yard and fly out the driveway, across the street, spilling its goodies into our yard - that energy is stopped. Blocked. It doubles back on itself, smashing into those sad wisteria vines, and back again, nowhere to go. Perhaps that's it, I think, but if true, I know of no way to free it, no way to lure it back. Or perhaps it's the neverending construction, the ongoing noise, the street full of vehicles - perhaps it's only that, which will mostly come to an end, the house next door to my right having never been without some ongoing project, and most of the vehicles belonging to the house next door to Mary's, meaning they will stay. Perhaps it's the loss of Mary, perhaps it's the knowledge of Maggie's weakening - perhaps all of that. Perhaps none. All I know is that it is. I know not why.

I try to look forward, I try to move forward, I try to see past all the obstacles, all the reasons, and find the time when it will be back, when I will walk out into a darkened yard and see the stars and hear the owls and feel a breeze laden with the scent of sweet olive blossoms, but I find myself stunned that we are halfway through this year, my year of unfurling, 4 months past Mary's leavetaking, and I am still searching.

I am impatient, perhaps.
Looking past my own magic perhaps.
No doubt.
I remind myself the red dragonflies have returned,
that there are more cardinals this year than last,
that the owls moved to our yard.
Perhaps the cure is blue flowers
for my neglected back porch.
This weekend then - a trip to Blue Moon
for blue flowers.
Another day in the summer heat.
till then . . . .


  1. flowers
    a lot

  2. I am trying and trying to find something to say. But. This post makes me feel vaguely sad. Sympathy pains, I guess.

    Thinking of you.

  3. elk - In truth, they do. I will feel better, the porch will be happier. :)

    Relyn - I have emailed you. I am just blue today, and perhaps should not have posted. But tonight I am reading a novel about India - not great, but attention keeping - and Maggie is outside the door, and the setting sun is lying in strips across the front yard, orange daylilies framed against the hackberry tree, the next-door construction has finished for the evening & quiet is beginning to move in. Things could be worse - the magic is there. I am, as usual, looking too hard.

    :) Debi

  4. When despair for the world grows in me
    and I wake in the night at the least sound
    in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
    I go and lie down where the wood drake
    rests in his beauty on the water,
    and the great heron feeds.

    I come into the peace of wild things
    who do not tax their lives with forethought
    of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
    And I feel above me the day-blind stars
    waiting with their light. For a time
    I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

    — Wendell Berry

    i too loose the magic. it is usually when i study too hard and my mind start taking over, nudging out my heart.

    after reading your post i stopped looking for the magic inside using my mind, did a bit of magical shaking - shaking the body to the beat of beauty- and there magic was, shyly peeking from behind a dog and giggling :)

  5. it is no little feat to find the magic after the age of 11, but you have inspired me to search

  6. Hele - I love this poem. Love it! Thank you! And yes, magic is always there, laughing as we look for it, playing hide & seek with us. :)

    Verle - Is this the famous Verle of Floyd & Verle? I am so happy you are here, whether you are she or not. :) It is hard for us grownups, we question too much, we think too much. But the magic is still there nonetheless.

    :) Debi

  7. Blogger just ate my comment!
    Strange things keep happening every time I try and publish my comments. Will try again...

    How strange that Mary's flowers decided not to bloom. Leaves me feeling sad.

    But I had to take the time to write out the poem that Hele left here. It speaks to the quiet place in me that needs natural spaces to shed the heavy weight of the world that sometimes lands on my shoulders. Such beautiful words.

    Did you find blue flowers?


come. sit under the emma tree & let's talk. i have cookies . . .