“Then they went into Jose Arcadio Buendia’s room, shook him as hard as they could, shouted in his ear, put a mirror in front of his nostrils, but they could not awaken him. A short time later, when the carpenter was taking measurements for the coffin, through the window they saw a light rain of tiny yellow flowers falling. They fell on the town all through the night in a silent storm, and they covered the roofs and blocked the doors and smothered the animals who slept outdoors. So many flowers fell from the sky that in the morning the streets were carpeted with a compact cushion and they had to clear them away with shovels and rakes so that the funeral procession could pass by.”
–Gabriel Garcia Marquez
This is one of the most beautiful pieces of writing I’ve ever read. It comes from One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Magic is in the air. The magic is still just as exciting on the second reading of this wonderful book. The paradox of opposites comes alive. The beautiful yellow flowers raining down on the town on a sad day of a particular death capture the imagination. I bet you can guess I’m getting ready for my retreat and class in Mexico. Magical Realism is our subject matter and hopefully my students and I will create some of our own magic. Through our painting and our writing we will try to capture the wonder and the spender of Melaque. Mexico becomes our teacher in that both joy and misery can exist side by side in the world. We can begin to remember what things are like the first time we encounter them. We see with a child’s eyes. Hopefully we’ll be able to tap into some of Mexico’s collective memory and feel the beauty in both the ancient history and the everyday life of the city. I can’t wait.
The yellow flowers in the quotation remind me of about a three day period that happens up here in Timber Valley in the springtime. For that period of time we have a fine yellow mist of pollen that falls from the pines and the Douglas fur trees. Yellow covers everything and most of us that live here will take the end of this period as the first day of the real spring. We don’t wash our cars before that. We don’t sweep our porches or clean the windows of the house because it would be of no use whatsoever. Of course it doesn’t smother our cats or chipmunks but it’s still a bit magical. Before moving to the woods I had no idea that this kind of thing happened.
So keep your eyes open. You never know when you might see a flying carpet or a carnival coming down your very own street. Be ready for it and don’t be surprised if time slows down and stops occasionally. Or time may really surprise you and go in reverse. I’ve suggested to friends that we subtract a year from our age on each birthday. I think it’s a fine idea.
“The things you’d least expect speak. There they are: speaking. Bones, thorns. Pebbles, lianas. Little bushes and budding leaves. The scorpion…The butterfly with rainbow wings. The hummingbird…One and all have something to tell.”
If we all keep our eyes and ears open to storytelling and unleashed imagination we will hear and see the unheard and unseen. If you have any magic you’d like to share please leave a comment. It could change someone’s life.
By the way you can see the original of the picture at the top of my post by going to the Attic Gallery in downtown Portland. It’s for sale!