Last night Nina convinced me to put dinner on hold so she could show me how to make a magic potion that would strengthen any and all animals that wandered through our yard. I knew she’d been concocting potions with her friends as part of their summertime animal rescue efforts, but this was the first time she had invited me to apprentice. I turned off the stove.
“Let me get my phone,” I said as she headed out the front door with a metal bowl, “in case I want to take a photo.”
“You don’t need your phone,” she said. “You already have a camera built into your mind. That’s the only one you need for this.”
Right. When did I forget that magic cannot be documented?
We placed the bowl on the trampoline—where all potions are created—and as she brought me ingredients I stirred them gently with a stick. Water from the rain barrel. Twelve tiny round seeds from the dogwood tree, which needed to be peeled to the fleshy white center. The innermost yellow nectar of the mandevilla flower. The smallest scales of a pine cone. All summer she’d been discovering a level of beauty that I’d never seen in my own yard.
After she declared the potion was complete, I was required to sit criss-cross while holding the bowl at arm’s length as she jumped in a circle around me. If the potion didn’t spill, it was strong enough. Although she jumped with all her might, I managed to pass the spill test. I followed her off the trampoline and around the yard as she carefully distributed bits of the potion, naming the various types of animals we’ve seen out back—deer, hedgehogs, turtles, rabbits, squirrels.
Tonight I’ll tell her that I did recreate one photo from the potion process this morning—the inside of a torn mandevilla—because it was just too beautiful to trust to my memory. And I’ll tell her that although she didn’t know it, she conjured her potion on the eve of Equinox, when all creatures begin preparations for winter. One child’s faith in magic will surely bring them strength.
— Amy Rawe