Listen to the Magic

Original art with yellow and brown background. Polymer trees and butterflies in browns, yellows, oranges, and golds. A girl in a green dress is crossing a bridge. Illustration done in procreate. Original artwork by Anna Loscotoff.

What about the magic, you ask? The sundial? The night soldiers? The buildings that sometimes seemed to change their shapes? They took it for granted. If you find that strange, imagine a time traveler from 1910 being transported to 2010 and finding a world where people flew through the sky in giant metal birds and rode in cars capable of going ninety miles an hour. A world where everyone went bopping around with powerful computers in their pockets. Or imagine a guy who’s only seen a few silent black-and-white film plunked down in the front row of an IMAX theater and watching Avatar in 3-D.
You get used to the amazing, that’s all. Mermaids and IMAX, giants and cell phones. If it’s in your world, you go with it. It’s wonderful, right? Only look at it another way, and it’s sort of awful. Think Gogmagog is scary? Our world is sitting on a potentially world-ending supply of nuclear weapns, and if that’s not black magic, I don’t know what is.

From the book “Fairy Tale” by Stephen King

Speak to most creatives these days, and they will tell you they are exhausted. Speak to most empaths, and they will tell you how drained they are. War, daily natural disasters, social media, human conflict, scarcity, crime, recession, the constant news cycle of sad and bad, are echoing through the corners of our brains.

There seems to be a lot of black magic and we have come to take the amazing for granted.

In June 2020, while quarantined, I happened upon this sunset. I was so lucky to be living in the high desert, with open space to roam and chickens that made me laugh. I would stand out every night and watch the sun set. (When the world started to return to normal and I found myself in a situation where I couldn’t see the sun setting for the first time, I felt real grief.)

June 2020, Tehachapi mountains

This sunset was a reminder of the magic of our existence. I haven’t seen one quite like this in the years that have passed, but it imprinted itself upon my heart. It sang to me and made me feel like I was a part of something larger. I’m grateful I had the time to stop and listen.

I hope you find a bit of magic today, whether it be in a flower or in the sky, or in someone you love. Pick up a book. Go for a walk. Take a nap. Do a bit of art. (That’s what I plan to go do.)

…My mind had been filled with my own thoughts… just as the minds of many who passed Elsa didn’t hear her songs because they were too busy to listen. That much is true about songs (and many stories) even in my own world. They speak mind to mind, but only if you listen.

“Fairy Tale” by Stephen King
Magic, a drawing by @Isobell.dohn.art
Magic by @isobell.dohn.art on Instagram

Links

Entertainment Weekly Review – Fairy Tale by Stephen King

Amazon – Fairy Tale by Stephen King

Goodreads Reviews – Fairy Tale by Stephen King

Isobell.Dohn.art on Instagram

About Me

I find myself posting less and less on social media. If you are interested in new art, short stories, occasional thoughts and random musings, I hope you’ll consider signing up for my newsletter here. I send out one newsletter a week.

Manzanar

The rays of a sun shine out to the upper right and lower left as it sets behind a hill

I love the feel of the air as it changes into fall.  There is a dry whisp of a scent.  Two different temperatures; a warmth to the front of the breeze but something colder just behind.  I find myself thinking of the interment camps of WWII, and what it was to be taken from your home, to watch a sunset in a place unfamiliar to you.  To watch the sun set behind Mt. Whitney from Manzanar as the weather turned cold. 

The last rays of a sunset come through the weeds in silhouette
The last rays of the sun shine on Sept 28, 2020.

The Japanese internment camps of WWII have been present in my thoughts the last few months.  It started with reading, “Snow Falling on Cedars” in April.  I knew about the camps, but that book, so beautifully written, re-awoke me to the time in our country when land was taken, Japanese immigrants and citizens imprisoned (anyone with Japanese ancestry classified as “enemy aliens”), families torn apart.  This weekend I finished reading, “Daughter of Moloka’i” which also explores the Japanese-American isolation of WWII. I didn’t understand how the land was worked and developed in Florin (Sacramento), California by Japanese families.  I didn’t realize the early relocation camps involved housing people in dirty horse stalls at race tracks. I didn’t understand how businesses were sold for nothing, that there were no options allowing those of Japanese ancestry to hold on to what they had built.

I didn’t know that residents in internment camps were asked to fill out forms which, depending on their answers, could label them “loyal” or “disloyal”.  Question 27 asked if you would be willing to serve as a soldier or a nurse in the war.  Imagine the fear in making this decision; to say no could mark you as disloyal, to say yes could mean leaving your young children or your elderly parents in the dire landscape of internment.  Question 28 asked “Will you swear unqualified allegiance to the United States… and forswear any form of allegiance or obedience to the Japanese emperor, to any other foreign government, power or organization?”  For those who were immigrants, forbidden US citizenship, would it leave them without a country?  If Japan won this war, would they be killed or tortured for signing this form? If they didn’t sign the form, would they ever leave the camps?

My daughter will be reading “Farewell to Manzanar” this year, an unexpected assignment again connecting us to this time and place. She broke down last nigh, feeling like she has been betrayed by history in that this is something she is only learning now.  I explained that I’m learning too. 

A yellow and orange light around the Tehachapi Mountains after the sun has set
The last colors of the sunset on Sept 28, 2020

And so I watch the sun set, and think about how it must have been almost 80 years ago, with the wind shifting towards winter. 

Links:

Japanese Internment from The History Channel

Japanese Americans and The US Constitution – The Questionnaire

Books:

Snow Falling on Cedar by David Guterson

Daughter of Moloka’i by Alan Brennert

Farewell to Manzanar by James D. Houston and Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston

A Daily Sunset

A sun sets to the left of the frame, disappearing behind a hill. There is a field of golden light in the front.

On May 29th there was one of those sunsets where you can’t help but watch and dream. It split the sky; light and dark, orange and gray and purple. On that night I made a commitment to myself, to spend time each evening watching the day fade away. To take a photograph of each sunset. To acknowledge the transition from day to night. To slow down and participate in the rhythms of nature.

A dramatic sunset of oranges, grays, and purples.  The sunset is split with clouds, creating an image both dark and light.
Sunset on May 29th, Tehachapi Mountains, California

Since that night, I have not missed a sunset. There are nights I’ve been a bit early, others where I have been a tad bit late. I’ve taken a photo of every one. Through the month of July, the sunsets were straight forward and the sun dipped behind a hill with very little color or drama. In September, the sun took a new color with the smoke of California’s fires. One evening the smoke was so thick, the sun just disappeared into the haze. I have watched the sun travel south, down my horizon from it’s summer point furthest north.

The sun is a small red ball disappearing past a hill, surrounded by California wildfire smoke.  The landscape looks red.
The sun sets in California wildfire smoke, September 7, 2020.

These are the dailies; the raw, unedited footage of my life. A flower I thought was pretty. A line of ants marching on. A quote, a thought, a sunset.