The Existence of Magic




Juliette sat back, her mind blown.


8 one way, 13 the other.


That was how the spirals went on the pine cone she was holding.


She picked up the next. It was smaller. 5 one way, 8 the other.




Juliette wasn’t a math major or a numerologist. She was just a bored girl surfing the Internet at work when she came across a Kahn Academy site.


Well actually, she was looking on Kahn Academy to see if there were any videos on Linguistics, considering she had her final on Monday.


Not surprisingly, there weren’t, but there was a section called “Doodling with math.”


Juliette wasn’t a math major or a numerologist, but she did like stuff with the word doodling in it, so she clicked on the video. She wasn’t prepared for what she saw.


As she watched an indeterminate hand and disembodied voice explain to her that flowers, artichokes, pine cones and pineapples all spiraled according to the Fibonacci sequence, Juliette was sure this was proof of magic (because to her, the words “God” and “magic” were interchangeable).


She had to try it herself, so on her after-dinner walk that evening she picked up a few pinecones.


8 one way, 13 the other.


5 one way, 8 the other.


Juliette was sure it was magic.


All at once, she felt crushed and inspired. She soared because she was happy that her prayers were going somewhere, but she was crushed that her entreaties for powers beyond the natural realm were being denied.

What was it? she called to her higher power. Why won’t you give me this gift?


There was a stirring inside her that she wasn’t sure was an answer, but she felt like she needed to paint.


So Juliette got up and squeezed tubes of greens and blues onto a palate, and then she stuck her fingers in the paints. The stirring inside her just needed to feel. There was a blank canvass in front of her, but Juliette continued to cover her hands in the paint. She squeezed more, and rubbed her hands until they were completely covered in blue and green. Then she started on her face. She had no idea why she was doing this or how it would turn out, only that it was her that was the work of art; it was her that was the canvass; it was herself that she most needed to create.


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