I find less and less moments these days that feel magical in the way they used to. “Magical” used to mean intense, novel; it felt huge, expansive, consuming. And yet, I find far more magical moments now, just in different ways.
Curled up on the couch with an amazing human watching a movie about mountains, a time-lapse of the changing of the glaciers worldwide, she mentions “And they say the earth doesn’t breathe.” I nod and smile at this. Yes, we are all connected. We all come from the same place. I cuddle into her chest.
We breathe. We watch. That is all.
Later, we sit in the bath taking each other in, talking about life. We were planning on the art museum, but I was tired and she listened. A bath sounded divine. She gracefully accepted – with a suit. We cry at times. We look in each other’s eyes. We smile. We are here together. Simple. Sweet.
In the forest, I walk with him. We talk of many things. When we reach the water, he points out the majesty, jokingly describing the imaginary hills and valleys of the mountain-less forest before us. He knows I am used to “more” outdoors – the earth falling below me, the openness expanding, the feeling of smallness and nothingness when one realizes how small we really are in the vast natural world. Not even a pinprick in the sky of the universe.
And yet, I smile and need not imagine. It is still nature. It is still the earth breathing, and I can only hear it if I’m listening very very patiently. I am learning to listen.
I find myself in the bath again, eating cheese and chocolate and fruit. The three of us talk and laugh and share. We feel like kings and queens in a royal palace, in the lap of luxury. Who needs “wealth?” We have it right here; hot water, good food, good company. What else could one need or want?
I am walking away from the door I have visited so frequently – my grandma’s. She is still mentally *there,* but also…fragile. It is hard to watch; it is harder to understand. I am more aware every time I see her that she will be gone someday, maybe soon. I am more aware every time I see her walk that as we age, our bodies become slower and in adjusting to this pace, gratitude of things we often take for granted while we are young skyrockets. Every time, I remember how much she truly loves me in all the ways she can, unconditionally. I remember that love doesn’t require physical or financial resources. One can have “nothing” and still be full of love to give (which is, of course, far more than nothing).
This time, I waiver at the door. I can’t explain it, but it feels like it may be the last time I see her face. And so I wait a bit and try to memorize that moment – her peering out of the screen door slightly teary with a smile. She blows me a kiss and I smile sadly and blow it back. I know that if I see her again, it will feel like a gift. And if I don’t, I will feel that I cherished our time together well and loved the best I could. I walk away, looking back one more time, her smile a cheshire grin stamped on the door.
Sometimes, I reminisce on the days of high highs, intensity, and manic boundless energy for connecting with others. There is some nostalgia. The highs were addictive. The lows came with the territory. I was attracted to pain, to huge transformation. And, to be fair, I made many friends and met much love in that time – relationships that persist into today, that have grown from moments of intense “magic.” Life is not sustainable here, though, I’ve found.
The moments now are calm, quiet. Nothing like the “magical” moments of divine intensity and connection I felt years ago with so many. And yet…these calm and quiet moments *are* magical. Every moment is one more that we have here, together (or alone). Moments we can breathe. Moments we can watch the earth breathe. Moments we can be seen and see each other in our rawness, in our beauty, in our humanness. Moments we can remember because we are in them, truly experiencing them, writing them into our genetic code.
I think back to the image of the earth breathing and the way her voice uttered the phrase so quietly (I almost didn’t hear it). I delighted in the knowledge of having loved ones in my life who understand that magic and love are not about grand gestures or big events, who understand what true wealth is, who offer themselves to me in so many ways, who make room for change and growth, and who handle my often fragile heart with care. I and they may not be here tomorrow, but my heart beats. Here I am. Here they are. Today.