To begin the story at the beginning, read "Part 1: Post 1: Beginning Again," published in January, 2013. To consult a description of the campus, read "Part 1: Post 14: The Greening of Campus," published in March, 2013.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Part 4: Post 10: The Art of Magic

The phoebes under the car port roof are about to fledge. They’re kind of hard to see, because the nest is up on a ledge and a little back. The angle isn’t good. But I can see the adults flying in with food,
and I can hear the chicks, their dry, raspy begging. And just lately I can see their heads over the top of the ledge. They must be standing up higher in the nest, moving around.

So I’ve decided I want to be there when it happens. I want to see the phoebes fledge. Of course, most of the time I have somewhere else I need to be—working, eating breakfast, going to class, labeling trees—but I’m trying to maximize my chances. About the only time I have where I can really be any place I like is when I do my homework, so I’m doing my homework on the corner  of the porch, by the wheelchair ramp, where I can see the nest.

So I was sitting there today and this man drives up, gets out, and walks into the office. The phoebe sat in the lilac bush and cheeped at him irritably, but I don’t think he noticed. When he came out again, a few minutes later, he was carrying a pamphlet. He’s a prospective student, I guess. He’ll be starting next February—and I won’t be a yearling anymore. That’s strange to think about, that of course I won’t always be a yearling, I won’t always be the new kid here. For that man who ignored the phoebe, I’m the mysterious one in the Harry Potter robe.

And honestly I think I may have a claim to a certain kind of magic, because that man didn’t notice the phoebe even though she was talking to him, and I did. I’m not a birder or anything—I didn’t even know they were phoebes until Rick told me, I didn’t even know there was any such thing as a phoebe. But I can see things now that other people can’t see. I’m sitting here in my wizard’s robes watching something that is invisible to ordinary men.

But at the same time, I hardly know anything. I’ve been watching the other newbies gradually choose up masters, get started on various courses of study…and there’s a difference between us and the senior students. It’s like they take knowing certain things for granted that we don’t even know at all yet. Dan has finally persuaded Kit to start teaching him on viola—he took lessons as a kid, apparently, and remembers how to play some songs. He sounds ok. But he’s going to have to work for a while just to get good enough at producing sound where he really sounds like a professional.  Maryanne is in her second year and studying guitar. I don’t know how good she was when she started here, maybe she always sounded great, but that’s not really my point. My point is that she’s busy figuring out how the guitar fits into her work as a therapist. She doesn’t talk about it much, but when she does she says things like “at first you need a teacher to learn about the guitar. Then, the guitar becomes the teacher.” There’s a qualitative difference, maybe as big as the difference between that man who didn’t notice the phoebe and me.

I’m thinking again about how all these different subjects relate to each other, how they are “ways in,” as Allen said. I know how athletics is a way in. I’ve found that way in myself while I’m running. And obviously spirit and magic both are—though I still don’t know how Allen’s magic of perception manipulation and Kit’s magic of causing practical change in accordance with the will are actually the same thing. And healing has been linked to magic going way back in history. But how, exactly, does healing relate to spirit? And where do art and craft fit in?

Art I think I can get. Maybe. I’m thinking about how I feel when I draw or paint. Not all the time, but sometimes, I feel different. Calmer, more focused. I find things, sometimes when I paint. This come out of my hands that I didn’t know were in there. I think, maybe, if I spent a lot of time in that calm, focused place, and really paid attention, it could teach me something.

[Next Post: Monday, July 22: The Loss of Reason]

No comments:

Post a Comment