“IS MAGIC real?” This was a question I was asked recently by a child, while telling a story.

Of course, in stories magic is very real; a frog or beast can transform into a prince, dragons and witches can fly, animals can talk, wishes can be granted by faeries and spells cast by wizards. Anything is possible in a story.

But that’s just in stories eh? It’s not real magic.

Well lets us imagine for a moment that we actually did live in the world of a story; that animals could really talk and a frog could transform into a prince with a kiss, that dragons and witches flew in the sky, animals spoke to us and wishes could be granted by magical creatures and spells cast.

If we lived in this story world then we’d soon take all this magic for granted. We’d stop noticing it, or even commenting on it.

We wouldn’t see it as magic or unusual because it would be everyday stuff.

“Yea yea, there goes another dragon come on we’re late, yes that man used to be a frog, yes that wizard makes spells and that woman can make wishes come true, so what. Don’t speak to that squirrel; we’ve no time to talk”.

But of course we do live in a magic world, a world just as magical as any story world. It’s just that we have stopped noticing the magic that is real.

In our world, a frog may not turn into a prince with a kiss, but a caterpillar turns into a butterfly, a tadpole into a frog.

And such magic is all around us. Leaves change colour with the seasons, magic transformation is everywhere. Animals do talk, any dog lover will tell us that.

Have you ever seen a hare and made eye contact and felt the connection or watched a squirrel hide nuts, and then come up to you asking for more?

Walk in a wood, or by a riverbank, or just sit in your garden or a park and the magic is all around you. We watched wood pigeons nest in a small elder tree outside our front window over the summer. Two eggs hatched and we watched as they were fed and finally flew the nest. It was, truly, magic.

The magic all around us is still vast, and we could all make our own list; the sound of birdsong, watching a butterfly flutter, a spider’s web decorated with dew, the glimpse of a deer in a wood, the mist wrapped mountains, a red sparkling cloud during sunset, a wee beastie under a rock as it scampers for cover, the whisper of an ancient tree and the sweet smell of a wood.

But I believe that sadly too many of us don’t notice real magic anymore.

And when we don’t notice something we don’t feel connected to it, so we don’t care about it. And when we don’t care about it we don’t protect or value it.

And when we don’t value it, we can’t feel the wonder and sense of awe it creates. And so we trash it, ignore and neglect it, exploit it. And we forget we are part of this magic; that we are sons and daughters of nature too. And so we disconnect ourselves from what can truly make us feel happy, and instead drug ourselves with the artificial magic of our own technology which makes us feel all powerful.

But the truth is we are not.

Ultimately we rely on the natural environment for our physical and emotional well-being, as much as the creatures we are making extinct.

We need nature, it doesn’t need us, and eventually it is in control. As if to make this point huge waves hit the rocks of Prestonpans in a storm not so long ago, drenching the nearby houses in a display of nature’s power. It was scary but also spectacular.

In 1589 such a storm was believed to have been the result of magic conjured by the “North Berwick Witches”.

That storm, like the recent one, was indeed magic, conjured by nature, which can whip up a whirlwind more effectively than any wizard or witch.

Magic is real. We just need to start noticing it, and valuing it. Before it’s too late and it turns on us.