There are few relics of magic remaining after age twelve. On the eve of the thirteenth birthday, magic packs its bags to depart, so it says, for sunny Aruba and a nice retirement. It says this to spare our feelings, but we know the truth; it must leave to accompany another child fortunate enough to be born in a time and place which allows it such a luxury as a magical start to life. After this departure, we only see reminders scattered here and there of the magical world we once knew, but one relic which never fails to re-inspire the mind into magical thinking is music. If it is in fact possible for anything to be holy or magical in this reality, symphonies are the most magical things I know.
There has never been a time in my life when symphonies were not present. My father is a professional musician, and some of my earliest memories involve sitting in on one of his rehearsals in huge, vaulted rooms filled with intricate and imposing instruments; or otherwise attending performances of one of the several orchestras he’s been involved in, huddled together with my family in the dusk-lit grass of some amphitheater. Back when my sister and I shared a bedroom, we could only agree on one issue: it seemed we could only manage to fall asleep when floating above the current of the sounds of Aaron Copeland, or sometimes the Planets Suite. As children, we knew well the near-supernatural power of music, and this attitude has persisted in my mind ever since.
The magic of symphonic music comes from its physical simplicity. At its most basic level, it is merely a series of vibrations, layered together like a French pastry, which goes travelling through the air. Without the human presence, it would just be a bit of math come to life, only to dissipate seconds later without anyone noticing. But when there is an ear and a mind to listen, those minimal vibrations can open hearts impossibly complex and worlds unceasingly amazing.
I believe the beauty which these vibrations possess has a definite, physical existence whether it is recognized by the human ear or not, and it is this idea which brings me my utopian view of existence. I like to think that if string theory were true and sub-atomic particles were composed of vibrating strings, each and every one of these micro-vibrations would harmonize and work together in the same way their macro-cousin-symphonic vibrations do. Just think if that were true; any place in the universe with any amount of matter would be absolutely filled with all this life-altering beauty stacked and layered into innumerable levels surpassing the most complicated fugue, but so miniscule we remain unconscious of its presence. Nevertheless it would be inescapably there, enveloping us and very truly existing as a part of us.
Continuing this idea, just as most orchestral compositions are incomplete if missing the brass section, or the lead violins, or anything baritone, so the music of existence would be truly incomplete without everything we see and feel being present to contribute to the symphony. Everything on Earth would have a definite purpose. We, ourselves, as a part of this music of being, would have a definite purpose.
And what if I extrapolated this scenario further? What if we all moved unconsciously to the vibrations of this molecular orchestra, feeling its effects even when we can’t hear it? Every movement secretly meaningful. Every person on Earth dancing unconsciously to the vibrations of existence; to a beauty they’ve never heard but they’ve always felt.
It would be truly magical.