The Mystery

There is something about childhood that, once lost, it changes how you see the rest of the world. We can call it magic, mystery, or anything else but it’s that that in us that doesn’t understand everything…and it’s OK.

As we get older want more control, we want more agency in our lives and as such we pull the wraps off of things, want explanations for everything, and we want to know the Why behind every action of inclination. There’s wisdom in all of that, of course, because adults have motivations completely alien to what kids have and by the time you reach adulthood you have learned some hard lessons, from kids AND adults, and we build up armor to protect ourselves. It makes sense. It’s reasonable.

But in creating so much armor we lose something.

We lose our sense of hope, and wonder, and yeah, magic.

Just think of movies, and how we view them.

We want something safe, familiar, and known.

We want franchises and sequels and shared universes.

And that’s fine, that’s swell, but it closes us off to discovery. To finding those new worlds and adventures and stories that may show us things in ourselves that we have forgotten or never knew were there.

By explaining everything, showing everyting, and demanding all mysteries be revealed we cheat ourselves of that discovery. It’s the spoiler and troll culture that has popped up, demanding to know all so we can be better informed, warned, and, honestly, so we can ruin the fun for other people.

Why spoil a plot, a reveal, or a mystery?

There’s a difference between boasting to have seen or to know something and then there is the bitterness that comes from a need to ruin something for others. Knowledge is power, as they say, and to be able to force your knowledge onto others gives you power over anohter’s own agency.

It’s the sort of mentality of looking for presents as a kid. Sure, you’re curious, but once you know, well, you know. There’s no ceremony, no anticipation, and the fun of What If is gone.

It just is.

Doesn’t mean that IS is bad, just that the build up is gone.

Movies, for me, are  away to connect to my youth so it’s movies that become touchstones for me. I remember when the movie CLOVERFIELD came out and it came out of nowhere, all mystery and unease and I loved that. I loved that I had no idea what I was getting into and loved that there was a mystery to unravel. My hope is that when I write I Can capture some of that mystery. Some of that wonder.

Sure, I want to know it all. I want to know the where, why, when, how – all of it.

I also want to be able to discover it and put it all together myself. I admit that I like to compare what I saw and felt with what the ‘real’ answer is, deciding for myself, but it’s that feeling of being on the edge of a high building that draws me. The exhiliration of discovery.

The more we remove the mystery, the wonder, the more we pen ourslves into safe, obvious lives where the only mystery left is when we’ll die. Magic is that feeling that the world has dropped out from under you, where you don’t know what is coming but cannot wait for it to come. It’s not a feeling of danger or fear but of expectancy. That feeling you got as a kid when you realized how big the world was and how many things you didn’t know and didn’t care. The darkest places in the night held horrific that frightened but excited us. We could be anything. We could do anything. We could dream anything. Even if we knew deep down that those things could never pass we did it because our imaginations drove us and controlled us.

But at every turn we want to stamp out the wonder and mystery of things, trading that itchy nervousness for the icy comfort of the known. Preferring the safety of the light than the danger in the dark and learning nothing of ourselves and who and what we are in exchange.

…c…

Winter Chill

I think the holidays dredge up memories for all of us. Most of mine are good.
Despite my love of Halloween and all things dark and creepy I really love Christmas and this season.
Something recently made me remember something though that is a bit of a darker memory.
Call it the end of my innocence, I guess.
As I kid I believed in everything. 
I believed in ghosts – I had an invisible friend I called Ghost so you figure that one out.
I believed in the Tooth Fairy – and had a passionate letter writing affair with her until my sister clued me in to her being mom.
I believe in the Easter Bunny.
I believed in monsters – my sister and a cousin played heck with me one time the cousin was babysitting me.
I believed in a world of mystery and wonder and I believe in Santa Claus.
My family went all out for Christmas and Santa was no different.
He left notes.
He left tracks.
He left coal, as a gag.
I loved Santa because, above everything else, he represented the purity of that time in my life. Yeah, presents, sure, but magic.
Magic with no rational thought or reason but just magic.
Magic, once examined, falls into its components and while still special, it’s that chohesion that gives them meaning to us. It’s the larger picture. It’s the connection it gives you to others and even to yourself.
Magic is that thing that just IS.
We should always question, we should always probe, but we should also appreciate.
Yeah, love is a chemical reaction, a mix of sexual attraction, availability, and the opportunity to procreate.
But it’s more than that. It’s both simple and complex.
Yeah, it’s biology, but it’s something spiritual as well because chemistry pushes you together but spirtual connection can keep you together.
I remember the day my childhood died.
I was a kid around twelve. I wasn’t older but I dunno that I was much younger.
I was naive, and I suppose I still am.
I had two friends that were neighbors, living across the street. We were frienemies, as the saying goes. We hung out and were pals but there came a time when I fought with the older brother and in retrospect it’s scary how some kids and people can infiltrate your life and infect it when they should never have had access to you.
We were playing in the backyard of another neighbor, someone these brothers lived next to. It was winter and we were going out to the ice to slide around. It was the Christmas season. I can’t swear to you a date though it sems as if it was before Christmas.
The three of us were walking and all of a sudden they started talking about how there was no Santa Claus.
My mind went blank.
What?
For me, there had to be a Santa.
Even at that age.
We got presents on Christmas Day.
Not before.
My sister and I went to bed and I would get up and peek and see presents and the tree lit up and our stockings and it was magic.
I’d go to bed and get up at 5AM and get everyone up and it was Christmas!
I didn’t know mom and dad stayed up all night wrapping and putting things out.
I didn’t know that mom created the notes and trail that lead to a man that appeared from the chimney.
I dunno if I suspected anything.
Maybe.
I dunno.
But I know that for me, that moment was when childhood cracked irreparably.
The boys went on and on, talking about it, poking at me because I had believed, but it all became a bit of a gray blur.
There was no Santa.
Not a person.
Not a man.
That didn’t make Christmas any less special or magic.
It changed what the dayd was.
What it meant.
It still ws a day and time of power.
But…there was no Santa.
It doesn’t matter what anyone else says…it changed me.
It changed how I saw the world.
And that is what I am getting at.
Magic exists as long as we allow it to.
There are things that we must believe in, that we have to to save ourselves and our species.
There are Big Things that we have to believe in.
There are others though that change nothing other than the person.
But for some reason we feel a need to kill magic for one another.
We need to poo-poo everything that isn’t a part of our world view.
Sure, magic can be explained.
Everything can.
Butthose things that we hold dear and sacred should be left for us to hold dear and sacred.
Until and unless they begin to effect major things in our lives to our detriment or the detriment of others we need to allow people to have their magic.
Santa is important to kids because it fuels their imaginations.
It harbors a belief that the world is bigger than kids can imagine.
That is the cruelest turn, that we steal magic, as silly as it may seem, from children.
They will learn all about the bigger world.
They will learn all about how dark and miserable it can be.
Why force them to swallow it whole at an early age?
Imagination is the engine that drives the human race.
Magic is the fuel that runs that engine.
It is only through these things that we can see a world beyond our lives, our issues, our stressors, and beyond the worst of us.
Magic is hope.
Hope that some things don’t have explanation, need it, or warrant it.
Some things just are.
And why on earth do we want to kill hope.
….c…