“If you don’t believe in any kind
of magic or mystery, you’re as good as dead.”

   – – – Albert Einstein

My father was pure magic. When I was seven years old, he tip-toed into my room one morning before dawn and whispered my name. My eyes flew open. “Get up and dress warm,” he said. “I have a 
surprise for you.” He headed down the stairs.

I jumped up, put on a t-shirt, corduroy pants and a sweat shirt and met him in the kitchen. He drank a cup of coffee that was so hot, a tear rolled down his cheek and I followed him out to the car. I had no idea what was up, but it was already a grand adventure sinceI was alone with my father.

He started up the car. “Where are we going?” I asked him.

“We’re going to the empty field beside the airport,” he said.

“Are we going on a plane?”

“No. Something is coming to us. It’s a solar eclipse. When the sun starts to rise, the moon’s going to cover it and make it dark again for a little while.”


“The moon is jealous. It has to disappear every morning when the sun comes up, but today, the moon wants special attention.”

It was still dark when we got to the airport. As we walked across the open field, I saw a few other adventurous souls milling around in the darkness. I resented their presence and I took my father’s hand. When we got to the middle of the field, we stopped. My sneakers
were wet from the dew and I looked up at my father, thrilled by his long legs, his straight back and all the things that he knew.

The sun was starting to rise as a faint glow appeared along the horizon, lighting up the edges of the sky. My father’s upturned face became a dark silhouette against the shining heavens and I reached my arms upward, stretching out my fingers into the oncoming light that was intensifying. But suddenly, it reversed itself, just like my dad had said it would. My breath quickened as he and I smiled at each other. We stood still for several moments, listening to the silence, amazed at the darkness until it began to be overwhelmed by the light. The moon slipped away, making room for the sun to dominate the sky once again and everything was back to normal. I felt sad. I had been deeply connected to the world around me and to my father and I didn’t want the adventure to end.

On the ride back home, he told me that the stars and planets were something called “light years” away from us. “Some of them burned out trillions of years ago and although we can still see them, they don’t exist any more.” I didn’t ask any questions. In a child’s
innocence, I knew that some questions were unanswerable. Some things just happened the way they did and if we tried to make them logical and give them a name, the magic pours out and leaves a gaping hole.  

J.M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan, said, “The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.”

When my father and I got back home, my mother looked a little bit sleepy as she put the cereal and milk on the breakfast table. I sat down to eat my Sugar Frosted Flakes. “They’re gre-e-e-at!” said Tony the Tiger on the front of the cereal box. My sister wandered into the kitchen and I started to tell her about the eclipse but she barely listened. She was preoccupied with homework she hadn’t finished. She and my mother had missed a miracle. I thought about what I had just seen and how unexpected it had been. I was expecting an ordinary day and look what happened. In that
moment, I understood that magic was all around me if I took the time to stop, listen and believe that it was hidden under the veils of everyday life. I believe it still and when wonderful and unexpected surprises occur, I see my father’s crinkly, smiley eyes gazing up at the heavens.

There is magic everywhere. It lives in our dreams, our hopes, our friendships. In gymnasts who tumble and twist and fly through the air. In figure skaters who skim and soar and jump on sheets of
ice. In ballet dancers who dance on the tips of their toes as if they are walking on the ground. In the music that comes out of an opera singer’s throat. But it also shows up in less spectacular forms. A baby’s first word. A dying person’s last word. The way our bodies heal. The way we feel when we fall in love.

Just because somone doesn’t believe in something doesn’t mean it isn’t real. Einstein Einstein knew that science and magic were forever merged. He said, “There are two ways to live life – as though nothing is a miracle or as though everything is a miracle.” If we stay
awake and aware and expect magic instead of questioning it and imagining the worst, we can become creators who allow and encourage special and spectacular moments to come to life.