The flames move strangely tonight. They speak to me of Bards and legends, the storyteller's campfire, a circle of faces looking up, wanting more, much more than the stories can give. What do I want? I want to try and set all this down. It might be a spell worth casting. Though I may not be Merlin, the Magic exists within us all. The Magic exists within us all. And if you never truly hear one word I write, if you never let one thought of mine other than that into your heart, it'll be enough. For the clear recognition of that fact can open the hardest heart held captive by denial.
I start this work not knowing where it will take us. Like an out of place, out of time Thirties hobo standing on the edge of a modern superhighway at night, I don't know this world anymore. Will they consent to pick me up and take me along? I don't know if I'm wanted. I don't know if they have it in them to believe that they can even stop. There are so many rules, so many all too reasonable notions that tell them I might be trouble. But I'm the gentlest threat imaginable. I just want to tell you a story, just want to try and decode this sorrow, this joy I've found, hand it to you, and say, "What do you make of this?" The rest is up to you.
Where to begin? Back to the fire, I guess. I'll stir the stew, watch for bubbles, and hope the recipe is right. Come into the light, sit down, it may warm you. Here, try this. Taste a few words and see what you think.
When I was a boy, I dreamed of power. The kind of power that sends lightning forth from an outstretched hand into a darkened sky. Magic is still the path I follow. Less flash, more substance, but just as powerful. Magic. Oh, just the word. The sound of it runs through my life like a thread in the great flowing pattern that it is. I hear its echoes ringing everywhere, see through its eyes when I open them from within, feel its heart beating behind the moment, beautiful in its purpose. My son laughs in his sleep as I conjure that last phrase onto the page. The Magic boy seems with me on this, being mostly Magic himself and totally involved in his purpose of play, playing his young life like a song of adventure. I somehow see him dancing in his dream, spinning, arms outstretched to let the movie music in, on the way to meet Errol and his Merrie Band, just stopping long enough to let the leaf filtered sunlight take his breath away. God, I want to give him Magic. I want him to know his truth beyond any doubt the world can throw at him. I want him to know his source as surely as I have come to know mine. But quicker. I knew early, but didn't understand. I want to point the way to the land of the truly living before the onslaught of adulthood forces it from him. Not everyone was as lucky as I. For I faced all the reasonableness that others did, and somehow escaped to tell the tale. Somehow escaped the theft of innocence, imagination, and altered perception that says, "This is not a stick, it's Excalibur. These are not a small boy's running shoes, but a horse's pounding hooves. She is not the neighbour's little girl, but the Lady of the Lake."
There are many kinds of Magic, of course. I'm sure that we all (those of us who believe in it) could easily come up with a long list of seemingly undeniable facts and wonder filled wishes to prove our points to any who'd care to listen. But the greatest and hardest to conjure is peace. Peace within, peace with others, global peace, all seem to have eluded us down through the many lonely years. Almost every spell we cast is driven back by mistrust, fear of difference, lack of love. The time may come, soon perhaps, when every wall will be too well built, every heart will be too thorned in by lies, and every dream of another way will die before morning. Our culture is blind to many things and some of them may kill us. And yet, hope forever waits for a human spark to light the world. There have been times when the light of peace flared brightly. I suspect that it never starts out that way, but grows from a small scrap of lightened shadow in the darkness. And therein lies that hope, that belief in small possibilities, that brave handshake waiting within the ruins of war.
And so my wish for you is one of peace. May this humble spell of words cast the shadow from your dreams, may it lighten the many too grey days of a much too modern life. And, with a little luck, two sparks, yours and mine, will light a bonfire of bright purpose that our brothers and sisters may notice on this, the world's cold-hearted winter night. Yes, this spell is meant for me as well, and for any and all who'll grant me the time to tell it. I need to be doing this wizard's work. I need to believe, as I always have and hopefully always will, that all is not lost, that we are just on our way, that the next hilltop brings Home, shining in the distance. Give me this chance to connect, for there is much we can do for each other. I will give of my heart if you will give of yours. And if some small seed of wisdom takes root within your mind, grows toward the sun, and someday, flourishes, I would say to you that the need is great and ask of you the favour that the Magic asks of me: pass it on, fellow wizard, pass it on.
John Kirnan, 8/8/2013.
Stay tuned for more of The Sparrow Stone.