As I write this, white snow and high winds attack my window, slowly making their way to the ground and mixing into the slush on the sidewalk. The blustering air and clustered snowflakes charge the clear glass, making the most out of their fleeting existence while fighting a losing battle against the gravity of the Earth pulling them in.
It’s a magical sight, but I’m not looking at it.
As a child, waking up to a backyard covered in snow was an amazing experience every time, and I never failed to make the most out of it. That’s the beauty of being a child: everything is magical. But that’s no longer the case. I used to think the world was full of magic, just like the books that I read about knights, dragons, monsters and heroes. Any free time I had was spent reading about worlds that I could only dream of, worlds where everyone has their magical tale and can be happy no matter the odds.
But at some point, I forgot about these worlds and I outgrew these dreams. The world became a serious place, a place that has no use for magic of any sort.
The snow is now slowing down, taking a brief break while the gray sky above darkens. Falling snowflakes glitter while they continue their journey, reflecting and refracting the light all around them and making a spectacle out of their lives for an audience of one.
I’d love to be out there, but I’m in here behind my computer with my assignments due tomorrow. Instead of enjoying the cold weather and admiring the view from my window, I’m worrying about assignments and deadlines and quizzes and tests and professors who take points off papers for slightly improperly formatted citations.
Indeed, the only thing that seems to matter is the dreary schedule of school work. I’m afraid to admit that I’m not making the most out of my time. Are you?
I watch the snow falling to the ground, entranced by the careless way in which the particles sway horizontally ever so slightly on their way down, even in their final moments so far from the sky. Yes, it’s a display of gravity and the natural laws of the physical world, but it’s also so much more than that.
Throughout my life, I’ve often heard that the only way to be happy and successful is to put all of your focus into school and finding the career choice that is going to make you the most money. And it’s easy to fall into this mindset; I know from firsthand experience. It’s easy to think of life as a competition of who can work the hardest and get the most done before they die. But life isn’t just about professional development and updating your resume.
Don’t get me wrong, money is important. I’m not telling you to drop out of college or quit your job to explore what truly makes you happy. But long-lasting joy, I truly believe, is near impossible to find serendipitously. So then, the question becomes, how can we find fulfillment in the everyday processes of life?
We have to find the magic, every single day.
Last December, I read “100 Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez on the recommendation of a friend, and I realized that I couldn’t have been more wrong about magic no longer existing. The book details the lives and happenings of a family in early Colombia over several generations. The story heavily involves magical elements in its seemingly normal society, and is one of the most influential books of the magical realism genre.
Magical realism is a genre of literature that depicts the real world with small fantastical elements mixed in. I had always thought of magical realism as a genre for children or readers that didn’t want to get into “real literature”, and I now see how foolish this was.
While reading “100 Years of Solitude”, I realized that the world has so much to offer us, but we spend so much of it worrying about the wrong things. If you never bother to look for the beauty in your life, you’re never going to find it. And if you spend your entire life without reflecting on what you want your life to be, it’s going to escape you before you’ve had a chance to really live.
Magical realism combines the real world with the amazing aspects of humanity — those that make us dream and hope and feel emotions like never before. These aspects of literature allow us to escape the world while simultaneously seeing how amazing the world truly is. While reading these novels, we can forget about our schedules and planners and instead spend some time in our own world and witnessing the magic both outside our reality and within. So I ask you: if you never try to see magic in the world outside of yourself, how are you ever going to see it in your own?
The snow outside my window has now stopped. The wind continues, unaware of the emptiness of its gust now that its crystallized friends have long ago dropped to the ground. I admire the wind, moving at its own pace and sifting through the snow below my window. It’s in no hurry, but it reminds us that life is too short to stay still. The glinting snow below sits easily on the hard pavement — a gentle reminder to humans that light can be found in the most unexpected of places. And here I am, thinking about the wind and the snow and the time all passing in front of me, yet all the while, none of them are thinking about me — in fact, they don’t even notice me.
But that’s the thing about magic in the realism of life: it’s never going to seek you out, it’s up to you to find it for yourself. So do your homework, go to your classes, but whatever you do, don’t forget that there’s magic to be found anywhere you look, as long as you find it yourself. And at the end of the day, what more could we possibly ask for?
Carlos Fuentes is the copy editor of The Beacon. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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