Last night I took Sue out for her birthday. The present was a trip to the IMAX movie theatre at Henry Ford museum, to see the latest Harry Potter movie. She started reading the books years ago, but didn’t want to make some kid wait to get theirs, so was always careful not to buy until each book had been out for a month or so. Well, I tried to avoid all the hoopla over these things for a couple of years, but eventually I got started with it and read all the books myself. And we’ve seen all but one of the movies. Here’s the thing that struck me last night as we were waiting in line: the crowd was a typical Saturday night movie mix- some families, some teens, but also a lot of adult couples of every age and stripe.
I think what makes this series so fascinating is that you get caught up in this world where magic and wizardry become commonplace, where moving photographs, 20 foot tall arachnids, love potions and dazzling spells become just part of ordinary but wondrous everyday life. We all need magic.
So I’d like to try out an idea with you. Imagine this amazing witches’ brew that’s full of complicated ingredients, and all you have to do is add one little drop of some special essence to make virtually anything you wanted. If you wanted a ruby red gemstone, you would add a little drop of brown liquid, stir the mixture for a couple of days and the stone would float to the surface. You could grow an umbrella to keep you cool in the long supernatural summer simply by adding a small oblong stone to the mix. You could even make things to eat, or to smell, or items that in turn could be used to make even more magical potions. Does that seem plausible to you?
Well, this is not a vision of some fantasy world. It is our own world, seen through magical eyes. The potion is our garden soil; the drop of essence is a seed. It has been so long since I have had a garden that this year, when I saw the first tomato beginning to grow, it startled me into amazement. How is it possible that all you have to do is add this particular little seed, and the world magically provides sun and rain to make the mixture of seed and soil transform itself into tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, corn, dill, basil, all of these distinct and wonderful things that you can eat? What magic causes a gem-colored flower to grow, or a tree that provides umbrella-like shade?
You can break it down to a purely scientific description of how this happen, which is what Harry and friends study in their book of potions, but these descriptions cannot take the magic out of it. We don’t need a movie to be immersed in a world full of wizardry. All we have to do is look at our own world, our own lives, through eyes that can see the magic.