Seeking the Magic of One's Youth

I stumbled across this quote while flipping through the latest edition of The New Atlantis a few weeks ago, and instantly loved it. (Also, it frightens me. I'm afraid of some day realizing that I've succumbed to that "blindness of spirit" without even realizing it. I don't just want childlike wonder; I need it. We all do.) that sought for magic in your youth but desire it not in your age, know that there is a blindness of spirit which comes from age, more black than the blindness of eye, making a darkness about you across which nothing may be seen, or felt, or known, or in any way apprehended. -- Lord Dunsany"The King of Elfland's Daughter"

That's from "Fantasy and the Buffered Self," a really wonderful piece from Baylor's Alan Jacobs. Go seek it out, if you've got a bit of extra time; you won't regret it. In addition to bringing Baron Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett to my attention for what feels (regrettably) like the first time, Jacobs' article pretty much single-handedly convinced me that I need to read Neil Gaiman's "American Gods."

A brief-but-important aside: Professor Jacobs' online presence is easily one of my favorite things. If you are not yet familiar with his "Gospel of the Trees", for example, check it out. Now. I can wait.

The Bible is a story about trees. It begins, or nearly enough, with two trees in a garden: the Tree of Life, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The pivotal event in the book comes when a man named Jesus is hanged on a tree. And the last chapter of the last book features a remade Jerusalem: “In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” If you understand the trees, you understand the story.

Attribution(s): "Entrance to Fairyland" provided by Shutterstock.