As I climbed up and over the Rocky Mountains, there was one phrase that was constantly repeated in my head. It was from one of my favorite movies, as a kid, and I’m pretty sure I can still recite the entire movie line for line. This was the phrase- “I thought the Rocky Mountains were supposed to be a little rockier” (As they drove over the eastern state line of Colorado). The reason for this was because I didn’t find the Rocky Mountains all to difficult to climb. In fact, if I had to select the most difficult state thus far, it would be Nevada, hands down. In Nevada, I bicycled 80 miles a day just to get from town to town. And within those 80 miles, I had to climb four separate passes, all of which were 3,000 feet of climbing, with very narrow valleys. It was even tougher mentally when I conquered a pass in Nevada, only to reach the valley floor and be greeted by an equally intimidating summit.
After three weeks of days filled with climbing through California, Nevada and Utah, I finally reached the, last, summit of Loveland Pass, elevation 11,990 feet, The Continental Divide. The ride down the backside of the Rockies was incredible. Going down 55mph, turns just wide enough where you didn’t have to brake check, and just sharp enough to make you nervous. Towards the end of the ride on The Continental Divide, you come around a hill and oversee the entire city of Denver, from about 2,000 above it. And it was a huge relief when I saw the miles of flatness in the backdrop of the skyline. I couldn’t tell when the sky started and when the road ended, and it seemed like I would be able to see New York City.
I was meeting my elementary computer teacher in Denver. She actually lives right around the corner from me in Elk Grove, CA, but she so happened to be visiting her daughter, son-in-law and granddaughters at the same time I was arriving. As I rode closer to their house, I couldn’t help but to recall the early years of my education and the time I spent within my teachers computer class. Every once in a while, we were allowed to play games on the computer. My favorite game to play was called “Cross Country USA”. Now this was back in 1995 and video games were not as sophisticated as they are these days. In this game, you were a truck driver who had to pick up products and deliver them to various locations throughout the nation. I joked with my teacher, earlier in the week through email, how I was so entertained by this game, a game where you just clicked the mouse once, then sat and watch the scenery change every 15 minutes. There was an option to lock the back of your truck, securing your product. I opted to keep it unlocked, for added excitement and suspense, and every so often the game would tell me my product was stolen. I would then click the mouse once, turning my truck around, and watching the same scenery changes, every 15 minutes, in reverse order. I reminded my teacher about this computer game, told her it was my favorite, and how cool it was that I am actually living it right now, except on a bicycle, and now I lock the back of my bike, every time.
I arrived to their home into open arms. After a delicious dinner, prepared by my teacher, we watched game 2 of the baseball College World Series, then quickly called it a night. I woke up the next morning feeling 100 percent, not a sore muscle in my body. I ate a lovely breakfast, positioned myself on the floor to stretch, and watched the local news. As I was responding to emails, I hear two sets of little footsteps coming down the stairs, in an irregular pattern, almost as if someone was skipping. I looked up to see the most adorable little girls, ages 5 and 7. I immediately put down my phone and tried to impress them, as much as I could, with my three magic tricks. I made a quarter disappear, then I changed the quarter into a dime, and the grand finale was making the quarter go into my arm (they thought my wrist bone was the quarter). Even after the jaw dropping finale, they wanted more, but I had nothing. They then in turn, tried to make the quarter disappear for themselves, by sitting on the quarter. They didn’t succeed the first few attempts, and quickly started to question my magical authenticity. I then grabbed the quarter and said that it wasn’t working because they didn’t believe, and they also needed to blow on it. With a 50th birthday cake strength blow, they blowed on the quarter while I was holding it, then I placed it down on the ground for them to sit on it. As they were about to sit down, I quickly palmed the quarter. They sat down for about 10 seconds, trying with all their strength to make the quarter disappear. As they stood up, to their disbelief, the quarter had vanished! They couldn’t believe their eyes, they were magical. The youngest girl was so shocked, that she walked away. We asked her where she was going and she said, “I need to go check my britches!” (looking for the quarter).
After an hour of playing freeze tag in the backyard, we sat down for lunch. My teacher requested a soda to accompany her lunch, as did the youngest girl. Her mother quickly denied her daughter’s request and said that they were only for adults. She was a bit upset, so I told her that soda stops the magic, and that’s why grown ups don’t believe in magic. Her outlook quickly changed, and she was completely content with her apple juice (and the continuation of her magical powers).
Not only did this event make my teacher’s granddaughters believe in magic, but it made me believe again. It completely changed the perspective I previously had on the word “magic”. Magic, in its rawest form, is making someone believe, that no matter the circumstances or how impossible it may appear, that anything is possible. It’s not about making an elephant disappear or sawing girl in half. For magic is not an act, but the emotions and hope it produces. All it is, is positivity to the fullest, showing people that if you strongly believe in something, it will come true (pulling the quarter out from underneath someone). Do you believe in magic? More importantly, do you make people around you believe in magic?