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This I Believe: Magic in the Mundane

Avery Hopper - Sullivan High School
Beatrice Bonner
NPR Illinois 91.9 UIS
Avery Hopper - Sullivan High School

I believe that there is magic all around us. Ever since I was young, my mind had been filled with all the magical possibilities in the world. While these ideas were influenced by many things, I believe that this gentle fire of ideas was sparked and maintained by my great aunt, who encouraged every creative thought I spoke of: Fairies spreading joy in the garden; elves creating wonderful inventions in the forests; and sleepy dragons who rested among their riches in the mountains. We spoke of each of these things so vividly that they almost became real to me.

I started to look for magic in every aspect of my life. I found the most mystical of ideas in the most ordinary scenarios. I would picture ghosts blowing bubbles in my drink to make the carbonation; generous merfolk placing seashells at my feet in ocean waters on vacation; and giants in the shapes of clouds. I thought of all these things, and they each filled me with a cheery sense of wonder.

My great-aunt was my biggest fan. She would read the crude scribbles of stories I wrote in twistable colored pencil, admire the rough crayon doodles I handed her, and always listen to me babble on about the newest idea I’d come up with. She told me of classic and timeless stories, such as the Brothers Grimm fairy tales; she showed me games that contained magic creatures; and she was always open to watching the most imaginative cartoons with me.

I wish so desperately that I could share the new stories I’ve written with her, that I could show her how much I’ve improved at art, and that I could listen to a story from her one last time; but even the most magical of people fade away one day. I lost my great aunt to cancer a few years ago. I lost my first best friend and one of my biggest supporters, but I never lost my creative spirit. She would never forgive me if I did.

I know now that carbonation is from the liquid being infused with CO2; that finding seashells is more of a luck-based thing than I originally thought; and that clouds just kind of look like that. However, I will never let go of the ideas that I used to have, nor will I stop thinking up new ones. Despite things having a more scientific side than I had hoped, I still find a childlike joy in the thought that there is a greater force of some kind out there, that things happen for a reason, and that there is no such thing as truly impossible.

Humans are creative little creatures, and dreaming big is something we’re known for. So why should I be told to stop daydreaming about the more whimsical things life might have to offer?

This I Believe Illinois is NPR Illinois' annual essay program for Illinois high school seniors. An expression of where their minds are as they prepare to enter the adult world. This I Believe was started by radio journalist Edward R. Murrow in 1951 to allow anyone able to distil the guiding principles by which they lived. Special thank you to our sponsors: The Rotary Club of Springfield Sunrise, BLH Computers, Illinois Times, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, and Mary Beth & Harvey M. Stephens.

2023 This I Believe Essayist
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