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Finding Magic at UCGTCF

When I was about 12 years old, I stopped believing in magic. My family and I were in Texas visiting a family friend when I passed by a magic shop. In the shop, I accidently overheard a so-called magician reveal how to make a coin disappear. That day, I decided to give up on magic all together. I told my mom about the disappointment I felt and she threw her head back and laughed sympathetically, “Ay Jamila,” she said in Spanish, “Magic exists. Do not give up.” I have felt and believed in magic since very sparingly and very skeptically, in moments I have not been able to pinpoint. Each time, I brushed it off—choosing to ignore those feelings, pretending it did not exist. After all, hadn’t I given up on it so long ago?

But last week, amongst talk of cosmovisions, polycultures, and technological treatment in class, I felt it. And the feeling of magic was magnified after Ana Galvis, a guest speaker, concluded her profound soliloquy with, “Realize your personal story and heal it.” Since then, I have felt a profound air of magic in my life.

When I removed the red cabbage plant from its plastic container and placed it into the dirt this week in class, I could not describe what I felt using any other word. In that moment, I felt unified to both my maternal and paternal family members who had done this so many times before: I imagined and re-imagined different family members, both maternal and paternal, following the patterns and movements of my own hands. I imagined my mother’s sisters lifting soil up with a barreton and her carefully planting a seed: maiz, zanahoria, guinea pastura. The wind blowing through the plants on Monday at the Farm, took me back to last summer when I walked through my dad’s plot of land, pretending to inspect my dad’s limon trees with my uncle, Fidel. And four summers before that, when my maternal grandpa took me to pick guamuchiles from his trees, and eight summers before that when my paternal grandpa called me over to his mango corriente tree to show me a tarantula lightly resting on the dried leaves below. Each time I felt magic and this class helped me find and feel that once again.

(Below is a picture of my uncle Fidel last summer.)

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