I remember when I was little and they started to teach us that it’s foolish to believe in magic.
That’s when I began to switch to rationale and logic and when I gave up in dreaming about spells and charms. Maybe that’s why I chose to major in Philosophy at CU Boulder. It’s funny now at age 24, I’m moving backward; I look for magic in everything.
The switch has made my days shine more and has even made my past sparkle more than it used to when I’d visit it.
Below are 100 ways that I’ve experienced magic. (I use lists like this to remember that magic isn’t the distant fairytale thing we’ve been taught to believe; magic is whatever you want it to be.)
1. The first time that my dad let go of my bike seat and I didn’t fall. Better yet, the first time that he let go, and I didn’t stop once I realized his hand was gone.
2. The first time that I followed love across an ocean, even though it made no sense.
3. The first time that I let love die when the time came, how I let it transform into something I still carry even though he’s gone (and has no idea I still carry him with me).
4. Realizing while living in Nicaragua that as a monolingual-plus-some-Spanish-speaking gringa, I could still laugh with, and love deeply, my host mom, my neighbor Danffer and all the others that made La Maximo, Managua my home.
5. Ice Lakes outside of Silverton, CO.
6. Discovering my passion for indigenous language revitalization and it being all I thought and dreamed.
7. Being accepted into my dream MA Program at the University of Arizona to follow that passion, then realizing that it wasn’t my dream anymore.
8. Walking away from an old dream to build a new one.
9. Burning papers that tried to trap me, e.g., GRE test results.
10. Discovering my song as I danced around a bonfire in the sand of Playa Panama, Costa Rica on the first morning of my 23rd year.
11. Dancing alone in my hotel room in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico to lift my spirits.
12. Dancing alone in my room in Durango because my spirits were so lifted.
13. Boulder Creek.
14. Reading the letter my mom wrote me telling me that she loves who I’ve grown to be, and feeling lighter with every read.
15. All those bus/grocery store/coffee shop/park/taxi/etc. chance meetings, when only a few words exchanged between strangers will never be forgotten.
16. Reading “The Irresistible Revolution,” on a bus from Denver, and getting off a couple of stops early to talk to Steven; he was the first homeless man to teach me, just as the book said would happen.
17. Bringing Michael, a Vietnam vet that called the parks of Boulder home, lunch every week and hearing his qualms with the world, and of his distaste at times of my meal selection.
18. The day in Samara, Costa Rica that I decided to give up on being a grown up, and to start letting my me break free.
19. Making trash into treasure, such as all of those tuna fish cans turned ash trays and yogurt jars turned flower vases, etc.
20. The first time that I really saw myself, with all the good, bad, and ugly; especially the first time that I didn’t look away.
21. The first time that I admitted I was unhappy, and I did something about it.
22. Coming home to visit my family after a four-month Durango hiatus, and finding them in costume for no reason at all; realizing that I love my family for all their weirdness, not in spite of their weirdness.
23. The first time I talked to the ocean in Mancora, Peru.
24. The first time I listened to the moon in Cañon de Colca, also in Peru.
25. Using a leaf we found in the jungle of La Moskitia, Honduras to cure an infection in my foot; meaning the first time I realized that leaves and roots cure as well as or better than the pills I’ve been swallowing my whole life.
26. Going to Bah Nam Khem, Thailand and being baptized in the Indian Ocean.
27. Running 13.1 miles for the first time with my best friend.
28. Running 13.1 miles for the first time alone and not stopping.
29. Every time that I find myself laughing hysterically all alone and realizing that my joy isn’t company dependent.
30. Singing my song I discovered in Costa Rica while I hiked solo all over Isla del Sol in Bolivia.
31. Trying to learn about my ancestors and not finding any information about my cultural past; the solution? Creating my own culture.
32. Fresh garlic.
33. Watching a lightening storm on the beach in Samara, Costa Rica with some of my favorite humans with a bottle of Flor de Caña.
34. Getting drenched by that same storm, and pounding through the streets together, soaked to the bone.
35. Drinking the cheapest bottle of tequila our colones could buy in Palmares, Costa Rica, and laughing and singing as it emptied, and the way the orange slices and cinnamon made the tequila actually taste good.
36. Looking at a map of Central America and having no idea where you are, because the mountain you’re trekking to isn’t even on the map.
37. The time I stood up for myself, even though it meant losing my job, friends and that thing we call ‘reputation’ that seems so important for some reason.
38. Climbing to 14,321 feet and drinking a High Life you carried all that way; beer and hiking are magic beyond words when used together.
39. Jumping into Lago Atitlan in Guatemala, even though the 25 foot drop scared me to death.
40. Deciding to never jump 25 feet again because it scared me to death.
41. Moving to Durango with $100, no car, no job and no friends.
42. Backpacking in South America alone and finding families from around the globe along the way.
43. The desert.
44. Seeing my friend Josh from Washington for the first time in three years; we’ve only seen each other outside of US borders.
45. Meeting someone for the first time and instantly feeling like she is my sister.
46. Running in the mountains, e.g., Chautauqua Park, Animas Mountain, etc.
47. Running in the forest, e.g., Hennef, Germany.
48. Sleeping in a hammock, e.g., Mexican jungle, Yucatan beach, Tico restaurant because you’ve run out of money.
49. Being forced to accept help, even from people I just met.
50. Realizing that I won’t suddenly die when the numbers in my checking account seriously dwindle.
51. Fresh basil and oregano.
52. Making meals for someone I love.
53. Letting them make meals for me.
54. Letting a Peruvian artist I met in Lima paint a picture of me.
55. The time that my family cousins shaved my head; realizing I can still be beautiful without hair.
56. Apartment pool swimming with Chloe in the rain in the middle of the night.
57. Telling him that I loved him for the first time.
58. Hearing that he loved me too.
59. Realizing that I don’t know anything, and none of it matters anyway; long live Socrates!
61. Letting myself have multiple personalities (please look for the appearances of Dixie Kate, Towelie, Landcrab, and more).
62. Still being sure of who I am.
63. Birth charts.
64. Puppies (especially Australian Shepherds).
65. Four girls, one bed (not nearly as sexual as it sounds—reuniting with my women for the first time in a year, and sharing our victories and sorrowing our losses).
66. Practicing dreaming.
67. Watching Miguel DJ while Diego played his viola (and seeing all of the other talented people I love share their art).
68. Admitting for the first time that I’m broken, and actually taking care of myself.
69. Getting tattoos and piercings.
70. Bending rules I make for myself and breaking those that need to be broken.
71. Learning how to make yucca and coconut bread over a fire in San Jose, Guatemala (check out organic farming opportunities around the world at wwoof.org).
72. Mexican food. Period.
73. Easter egg hunts in the dark with my family.
74. Mystery beer night at The Downer in Boulder (and Whiskey Night and 80’s Night…and basically just The Downer in general).
75. Seeing the West Water Outlaws for the millionth time and loving it just as much as the first.
76. Walking away from comfort when I realized it was keeping me from becoming what I could be.
77. Farmers markets.
78. Aspen trees.
79. Hot showers, mountain lake and rive baths, etc. Bathing is one of our holiest daily rituals, no matter how we do it.
80. Mountain lake skinny dipping outside of Ned.
81. Getting off crutches three weeks later due to some unseen mountain lake rocks.
83. Standing up for someone else.
84. Birds (especially the German ones).
85. Waking up to chase lizards and land crabs on the beach.
86. Chain smoking cigarettes when there’s nothing else to do.
87. Always talking about learning to Dougie but never actually trying.
88. All my friendships that never change.
89. Being okay when they do.
90. All those humans under four feet that love me, even when those over five don’t.
91. Drinking yerba mate with Argentines for a week straight.
92. Skinny dipping in the Pacific under the full moon.
93. Shooting stars in Bolivia.
94. Tearful goodbyes and joyful reunions.
95. Surviving those times that I thought were the end of the world, and realizing that I’m stronger for them.
96. Learning to love the fire that burns me in those dark times.
98. Living out of my car, and seeing how willing people are to offer their couch or floor or spare bedroom.
99. Friends that you can call for no reason at all, and they don’t mind.
100. Hiking naked in Canyonlands alone and letting the sun shine where it hadn’t yet had the chance (after making this list, I’m realizing I think doing anything naked seems more magical than anything I do with clothes on).
With all this being said, look for the magic in your days and rid yourself of the lie that it’s dead.
As I said before, magic is whatever you want it to be.
Katie Brown: When accepted to her dream MA Program at the U of A in Tucson, Katie had realized her gypsy being had already begun to take root (pun intended). As such, she decided to fill her backpack, once again, and keep blowing around the globe until further notice. She currently resides in Köln, Germany, and thought she’d rather write blogs for free than get a real job. Contact her at: [email protected]
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Assistant Editor: Brian Bruce Casteel Logan/Ed: Bryonie Wise