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In my brilliant first novel, THE MAN WH CAME LATE TO HIS OWN FUNERAL, the protagonist, Archimedes Acropolis Fortunakis, has this to say.

“If you want magic in your life, you must do three things.

First, believe in it.

Second, accept it.

And third, be grateful for it.”

Simple. Here’s what happened.

Easter dinner finished, I, and the girls, took a walk around the hood, to loosen our belts a bit before plunging into dessert. Along the way we came across a defunct vulture, (they abound in bespoke hood,) its corporeal remains broken in two by ill use, one section to the left, one right. Though its body had been violated, rent, torn asunder, its feathers were incredible. At first, I thought it an owl with a magnificent wingspan. But no, it was just a vulture, ignoble carrion-eater, with a magnificent wingspan.

Did it die of old age, natural causes, drop out of the sky like something tired deciding it had had enough? Had it been eating something four-legged and become so engrossed that some texting motorist failed to see it and the combination of rapt avian and careless machine proved its undoing?

No matter. Whatever it was, the result was the same. Dead, dead, dead, not to arise on the third day and ascend bodily into Heaven to sit at the right side of some bulbous-nosed Father stinking of flesh rot.

I thought I might harvest its feathers; they were gorgeous and abundant, and I could see no reason to waste them. One could’ve fashioned an impressive Indian headdress from them. Shan and I love feathers. We have them scattered around our home, in vases, pressed in books, fetishes. But something about plucking its tail feathers, pin feathers, wing feathers seemed… not right. And so, I didn’t.

Instead, I moved it from the street, into the dirt, said a brief silent prayer extolling its virtues, (He, or she, was a fine father / mother, husband / wife, loved its children, faithful, good provider, etc.,) and committed it to dust from dust, amen,) and moved on giving it not one whit of further thought.

The next day, I’m on my bike, riding to town for a meeting of artists, and those that love them, when out of the blue, a large, fresh, robust, (a buzzword adjective of the day – robust,) vulture wing feather wafted out of the sky and did a floaty little dance into my bike basket perched on my handlebars. I did not see it till the last, as it dropped in, manna from Heaven. I had neither increased, nor decreased my speed, nor altered my path or trajectory one little bit to meet the feather in its flight. I did not catch it; it caught me.

When I told the folks I was meeting about this fine thing, one of my colleagues pointed out that it mightn’t be that extraordinary since in the immediate vicinity there is a quite large communications tower that is home to a quite large population of this noble buzzard. There are dozens of the creatures around, hundreds.

For such an ungainly bird, the much-maligned vulture makes no-one’s cuddly list. But in the air, they are ballet graceful. No bird I know of can ride the currents better without batting an eye or a wing. They climb up, up, up, with no energy expenditure other than a slight dip of a tip, a little flutter adjustment to stay aloft. They are surfers of air, aerobats – acrobats of thermals; Shan and I have often watched them, marveling at their size and serene glory. One is hard-pressed to not look at it and say, “I’m not dead yet!” as it circles above, difficult to not equate the soaring wind rider with the terrible beak ripping the intestines from road kill rodents. And yet, such it is. One must take the whole package. Anyway, given their ubiquity and proximity it may happen rarely that a feather might drop into one’s basket, but it does happen. I had the proof in the pudding. Or rather, in my basket.

But, was it coincidence or magic, this gift of feather? I thought you’d never ask.

The bird that I’d given some dead bird love to the day before, (on Easter no less,) was bodily ascending a thermal to Heaven, and had given me a present, thanking me for not taking wampum, for resisting the urge to disgrace its remains. It is a power object. An animal token totem. It remains in the basket, where it fell, till I decide when / if it needs to live elsewhere. How can I consider it coincidence? How can I regard it as anything less than magic? Why would I want to?

Want magic in your life? Believe in it. Accept it. Be grateful for it. Magic is everywhere. I choose to live in a world of magic, rather than coincidence, though in truth, coincidence is its own kind of magic, another word for it. Else I’d be telling you about the ugh-athon of going in-person to the Social Security office in Ft. Pierce today, to gather information for decision-making regarding benefits, and Medicare. Can I say a buzzard eating my gizzards in a roadside gutter might be preferable? I understand now why they try to steer you to the internet gov.sites. It must surely be more human.

Offered just after midnight, Wednesday, April 4, in the year of our Lord, 2018 A.D.

(Or as the Jews refer to it, 2018 C.E. – the Common Era. Though the years tally the same, they understandably prefer something non-Jesus based. Same for B.C. = B.C.E. or Before Common Era.) I learned about this while reading about the Torah and Talmud the other day. A little piece of trivia that might win you money on a game show someday. Use it, with my blessing.

P.S. – If you haven’t already, buy my aforementioned book, THE MAN WHO CAME LATE TO HIS OWN FUNERAL. Buy it again, if you have. Learn about magic first hand. Kindle, Nook, or hard-copy, direct, signed from me. You’ll be happy you did.

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