I was really into magic as a kid. I bought a cheap magic set at 12 and tried to learn the tricks and perform them smoothly. My lack of coordination and my personal awkwardness meant I was never very good at it. Although I got a few card tricks down — mostly the ones that relied on math. They were much less anxiety provoking than the ones that required me to be smooth in my delivery. My friends and I made up stories about magic kingdoms in our backyards. We were always the benevolent but powerful princesses.
My father lived in Nevada and I would fly out to visit him every summer. On the drive from the airport to his home, we would go through a mountain pass (called the gorge) and I fixated on one of the smaller juts of rock as my “magic mountain”. It was beautiful, with greens and reds running through it, and felt magical to me when I was 4 or 5 years old. When I drive by it as an adult, I still see it’s beauty. Back home, I would tell my friends I had a real magic mountain with some authority. I don’t know if they believed me, but they played along.
I think love is like that in some ways. It is an act of faith that requires we believe in something we don’t really have any reason to believe in. Maybe that’s why the young love more deeply – they don’t have as many reasons not to believe so they can embrace the experience so much more fully. The hope and excitement is new and hasn’t yet lead to the grief and heartache. In some ways, I am still young. I don’t think I draw magic from that beautiful rock in the gorge, but I still believe in the magic of love to transform us into better people. Not because love changes people but because people can be inspired by love to be more deeply themselves. And I do believe our deepest selves are our best selves.