Nature and Magic has been a little quiet lately.  We believe that is mostly attributable to the writers and editors that staff our site and occupy our .0025 x .0015 room (in hectares) office here on Hollywood Boulevard.  They are taking vacation time in keeping with Hollywood tradition.

T. Nelson DownsThat tradition began with the studios back in the 1920s when Mary Pickford granted all of United Artists about two-weeks’ vacation at the end of the year.  Other studios adopted the tradition and soon all of Hollywood and the companies that served them observed the same policy.

It is now essentially law and if there is one thing readers of know, we follow the law without obvious or documented exception.

So, it is just us in this spacious office suite overlooking the street now festooned with holiday flags, banners, and things that are neither.  It is a glorious sight, despite the incessant rain.  It never rains in the greater Los Angeles area but this week is an exception.  So nature does not follow our policy in observing tradition or the law.  That is to be expected, we suppose.

Nature seems to follow its own course without regard for the lives of those affected by its vagaries.

We grow old, nature just changes with little care.  We make plans for events that are important in our lives, nature gives not even a nod.  Weddings are washed out, buildings are felled by earthquakes, skywriters are booked with a non-refundable reservation fee, and nature covers the sky with thick, opaque clouds to obscure the writing or ground the planes.

So what does this have to do with magic?

Our wonderful art is one that is thought to rise above nature, to be supernatural.  But the individuals that make the supernatural happen are human and ultimately subject to nature’s whims.

In the past six weeks we have learned of deaths and illnesses occurring to members and members’ families in our community.  More than a few Broken Wand ceremonies have been had.

We have also learned of births of children to magicians (and variety artists) and with the births come hope that our art will continue to grow and expand.  We’ve seen incredible development in the skills of young magicians around the world (even assuming camera positioning in the most perfect way).

The youth of our ranks will serve magic well.  Many (like us) will invent effects that have already been invented.

At the tender age of 13, we invented the Downs Palm and two sleights previously created by Cardini.  We were fortunate that our mentor did not ridicule us for such an audacious claim but used encouraging words to encourage us to read more to learn about those magicians who preceded our entry onto the scene.

Like nature, magic ebbs and flows.

We have seen dry times and, we suppose, wet times.  We couldn’t think of an appropriate match for “dry times.”

Doug Henning and David Copperfield reminded lay audience how exciting magic was; and encouraged thousands of young people to pursue it as a hobby or even a profession.

Now the excitement is created and driven not just by the big-time professionals but also the contributors to YouTube, Twitter and other avenues.  We’ve seen young magicians watching on-line videos over and over as they practiced or attempted to imitate the moves shown.  It always makes us smile.

Magic is an art with a great history.  It has survived claims of witchcraft, and devil worship.  It often led the variety shows that moved from town to town and was the fertile ground from which sprang Houdini, Thurston, and Blackstone.

Nature doesn’t acknowledge those who perform what seem supernatural acts.  It just bides its time.  Allows for births, relationships, deaths, and mourning.  After all of that it continues in its unpredictable but self-sure way.

We are merely here to accept its place in our lives and the lives of those we love and have learned from.  We can’t fight nature and its way but we can enjoy what it provides and hope to preserve its supportive, if always surprising manner.

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