So there I sat, wrapped in anticipation, in the middle of the front row at the Las Vegas Luxor hotel, waiting for the show to start… we’d been travelling down the Colorado River on a raft for over a week, and the experience of drifting down the river and over the rapids, bouncing from rock to rock as we swung wildly down the raging river, spinning and whirling in the whirlpools and eddies at the bottom… as we drifted, deeper and deeper into the Grand Canyon, ever turn, every new view revealing deeper and deeper layers of rock, revealing the history of what had gone before. We had spent nights just gazing up at the stars, scattered across a wizard’s midnight cloak, their magic holding us captive to beauty and to the promise of the unknown, the mystical, the secrets of deep space way beyond our grasp.. we were ready, open, expectant, hopeful.
And so, at the end of the trip of a lifetime, while in another story events unfolded halfway across the world that would change my life forever, we sat, waiting for the presence of the master magician, for the moment when magic would happen right in front of our eyes. As the house lights dimmed, a single spotlight picked out a figure standing alone on the stage… and he stood, motionless, as if waiting for something to happen. The applause faded into silence as we waited, barely able to breathe, for the show to begin. The black clad figure paused, immobile, almost as if frozen in place – like a puma, tensed for a moment before pouncing – a faint hint of a smile softening his gaze as he looked out over the audience, holding each one of us spellbound without uttering a word, without a movement – and yet each of us knew that what we were about to witness would stay with us for ever…
Like a big cat he moved a single pace towards us, welcoming each one of us into the adventure, into the drama, into his journey… and a coruscating flame illuminated the backdrop as he prowled, surefooted, across the stage and into action. From that moment we were lost in a whirlwind of magic, of wonder, of spectacle – and yet it seemed so real, so true. There seemed to be no way that he could create such wonders unless he really did.. could he.. possibly.. have access to some power that we couldn’t understand? Was it possible that he really could… do magic?
We were held, captivated, lost as something incredible unfolded in front of us, as our understanding of what was real was challenged, as our spirits were opened up to new possibilities, to thoughts of what could be real, to dreams of what might be.
And then, in a single shower of sparks, as if an electrical storm had struck from above… there was silence. We sat, enthralled by what we had experienced, unable to move lest we disrupt the magic of what had happened… the magician stood, a black-gloved finger to his lips, his blue eyes soft, kind, gentle – yet somehow windows into another realm, a place where anything could happen. He looked across the audience, as if searching for something, his gaze alighting, just for a moment, on each one of us in turn.
And for the first time, he spoke, his words carrying unaided across the space between us. And it was as if he spoke to each of us individually, the timbre of his voice carrying more than his words, but each syllable a source of power, of courage, of hope, of truth, of revelation.
Each one of us heard it, crystal clear in our ears, yet striking so far into the depths of our being…words that will stay with me, treasured in my heart – ”because you have spent this time with me, today, because you have dared to open your hearts to what might be… you will learn that you.. can do magic too”.
original text and images © Timothy Hodgson 2011
The swirl photograph © David Hodgson 2005 – other photographs Las Vegas 2005