Display of Pure Magic – Mary Reynolds Thompson
July 4th. Illegal fireworks shatter the night’s quiet and spark hundreds of fires all over the tinder-dry Bay Area. My husband and I curl in bed listening anxiously, sniffing the air for smoke. The trees outside our window seem almost to hold their breath.
Everything these days seems fraught with danger.
The next day, walking the bluffs above Limantour Beach in Point Reyes National Seashore, we sight a pod of gray whales—at least five of them—putting on an extraordinary display. Rainbow spumes arc into air, tails slap water, bodies breach.
“Happy Inter-Dependence Day,” I smile at Bruce, joy pulsing through every watery cell of my body.
Humans need to feel awe and wonder. As a child, fireworks were as magic to me. Now, watching the whales, I feel that same sense of enchantment—as if I have entered a fairy story filled with all manner of powerful nature spirits.
One of the great tragedies of our modern age is that we are losing touch with the simple magic of nature—the pure, exhilarating wildness that thrums through our blood so that we want to move to the rhythm of moonlight and the resounding chorus of waves.
Whales connect us to a timeless story that rattles our memories, stirs up the distant past and brings us fully into the present. The language they speak is an ancient one and lives in our bodies. If we stop to listen, it offers us a thread deep into our history, into the fullness of life, and offers a promise of a story still filled with beauty and possibilities, if we are willing to pay attention.
Writes Miriam Therese MacGillis, “Everything that lives has the ocean in it. The oceans are not oceans. They are one single saltwater system which flows through everything on the surface of the earth that has life in it.”
Listening to the unsanctioned fireworks like shotguns blasting the night, I felt alone, cut off from humanity. How could people be so irresponsible? How could they not know the cost of a stray spark to this drought-ridden land where wildfires are a constant threat?
Fireworks, it seems, has become just another thing that divides us. But nature—beautiful, wild, enchanting—still has the power to help us recognize that we are part of one glorious, interdependent planet.
Everywhere we look, if we really look, the world is exploding with magic.
MARY REYNOLDS THOMPSON
Mary Reynolds Thompson is the author of Embrace Your Inner Wild and Reclaiming the Wild Soul: How Earth’s Landscapes Restore Us to Wholeness. She is also an instructor for the non-profit TreeSisters, a facilitator of poetry therapy and journal therapy, and a certified life coach who has helped thousands of people discover and live their Wild Soul Story. She is the founder of Write The Damn Book, a program that guides writers on the heroic journey from procrastination to publication, and is a core faculty member of the Therapeutic Writing Institute in Wheat Ridge, Colorado.