Capturing the magic in the ordinary

What makes a moment meaningful? How do we capture the magic in the ordinary? What makes an ordinary moment magical? These questions were put forth on this blog post at written inc. The post was about pausing to watch a train go by with his daughter, and captured my thoughts because as a mother (and a busy homeschool mother) I am constantly trying to balance my list of 'need to do' with just enjoying my kids and the many moments that make up our life together.

My magical moments of the ordinary occur when I slow down and savor the moment. A zen moment when I simply experience the moment and let the event play out, participating in it fully. To me, it is like time begins to run in slow motion- time almost stands still. Magical moments that become snapshots in my mind to take out and savor again and again.

A circle of Quiet by Madeleine L'engle is on my fall reading challenge. I began reading it this weekend and this passage spoke, I thought to this ability to capture the magic in the moment...

"...I was trying to think out loud about the concentration essential for all artists, and in the very little child I found the perfect example...In real play, which is real concentration, the child is not only outside time, he is outside himself. He has thrown himself completely into whatever it is that he is doing. A child playing a game, building a sand castle, painting a picture, is completely in what he is doing. His self-consciousness is gone; his consciousness is wholly focused outside himself...When we are self-conscious, we cannot be wholly aware;...So, when we wholly concentrate, like a child in play, or an artist at work, then we share in the act of creating. We not only escape time, we also escape our self-conscious selves."

So, I think she is saying that in capturing these moments we are using the skills of childhood. Approaching the moment with concentration (for example an 18 month old intently watching ants) and lack of self-consciousness. This results in the feeling of escaping time and escaping our selves.

These thoughts, and this homeschool blogmom set my mind today to be on the lookout for moments that could be magical. One such moment was a nature walk this afternoon in our neighborhood. Time slowed down as we stopped to really look at a butterfly bush. An ordinary plant we have seen on our own street, but this bush was big and 'bushy'. and had many butterflies hovering around it. So, we paused when I might have ordinarily moved on. We tried to smell the flowers, discussed the scent, discussed nectar, why the bush is called a butterfly bush. We enjoyed the different hues of orange of the flowers. The kids spent time gently catching the butterflies and releasing them. Really, a moment I probably would have missed. I took some pictures, we took home a few flowers to draw and label later for our nature journals.

On the walk home we discovered a cute bird house with a bird family in it, and looked at some brown-eyed susans-discussing the name and relation to the sunflowers in our yard. It was a beautiful, blue fall day. A magical ordinary moment.

As we walked up our path to the front door, discussing the wonders we had discovered on this walk, the boy wonder commented "yes, it was nice...but next time, mom, we should take the van." !!!!!