Our Magical Reality

What do we mean when we use the word ‘magical’ in our everyday conversation? This was the question put to me by fellow blogger Petra Vergunst, a freelance artist based in Aberdeen. Petra knows a thing or two about the ‘magical’, as her current project, ‘Aspen and Alder’, focuses on how we connect with nature and the woodland environment. Read more about her work here:


I love a challenge, especially when it involves words, so here are a few of my ‘magical’ thoughts!

In the week of the Summer Solstice, getting up at dawn and observing Barry Mill at sunrise seemed like a cool and creative thing to do. Sunrise on Sunday was 4.21 am. Maybe slightly crazy then, but being ‘in the moment’ at the mill, at dawn, was certainly awe-inspiring.

The morning sky was bright and dazzling; the trees to the east outlined in poster paint red. Beneath them, the land lay mysterious and dark and still dripping with night-time. The endless flitting of birds brought the mill den teeming to life. The raucous chattering I thought was a crow or a magpie turned out to be a very angry squirrel! By contrast, the mill pond was still and serene, keeping its secrets. Once or twice the water reflected the flight of a bird winging its way across the sky, as if for a second the whole world had turned upside down.

And isn’t that the essence of ‘magical’? A sense of altered perspective; the not-knowing element of life which always spices things up. If  I was to deconstruct the morning into magical parts, I would say the colour of the sky, the strange chattering of the squirrel, the presence of the trees.

At this point I feel a bit like a creative optometrist: if I use this coloured lens, is your awareness of the magical increased or decreased? Is your experience enhanced or disrupted by the addition of sound? What about solitude? Company? Is it better with? Or without ?  I suspect our definition is loose and very subjective.

I passed the challenge on to those who attended my Midsummer Magic Writing Workshop later that day: ‘As a writer, what does ‘magical’ mean to you?’ A quick tour around the mill, as always, provoked some very inspired responses! ‘Magical’ is not an easy concept to define, but the  writing, both poems and story beginnings, managed to  capture the essence of this alchemy between what we think we know and what we can only imagine.

Again, I’m passing on the challenge …what does magical mean to you?


sunrise at the mill

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