In the Little Free Library in the park across the way, we found a classic children’s book that we’d somehow never read: The Secret Garden. As Spring transformed the park, it was perfect timing to read about an abandoned garden coming to life. We saw the garden through the eyes of Colin, the young shut-in who experienced Nature for the first time. We discovered an interesting idea to experiment with as well.


When Mary found this garden it looked quite dead…Then something began pushing things up out of the soil and making things out of nothing. One day things weren’t there and another they were. 

I keep saying to myself: “What is it? What is it?” It’s something. It can’t be nothing! I don’t know its name, so I call it Magic…Magic is always pushing and drawing and making things out of nothing. Everything is made out of Magic, leaves and trees, flowers and birds, badgers and foxes and squirrels and people. So it must be all around us.

I don’t know how to do it, but I think that if you keep thinking about it and calling it perhaps it will come. Perhaps that is the first baby way to get it. …Every morning and evening and as often in the daytime as I can remember I am going to say, “Magic is in me!

That is my experiment.”


In describing his theory of the flourishing garden, Colin perfectly describes the mysterious Creative, “always pushing and drawing and making things out of nothing.”

Sally Schneider
Sally Schneider

What have we got to lose by trying Colin’s thought experiment…

…to simply think “Magic is in me!”…

….and see what happens?

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4 replies on “A Thought Experiment for Cultivating Creative Magic

  1. Magic indeed, Sally, in all the ways you say. The Secret Garden was one of my very favorite books as a child and is still one of my very favorite books as an adult. It is near at hand and even now on my bookshelves.I didn’t see the 1949 film with Margaret O’Brien and Dean Stockwell and Herbert Marshall until many years after it was made (there have been other versions since), at a time when I was grown, but still it left me breathless with joy and understanding. And when it recently ran again on television, it had the same effect. This wonderful black and white film suddenly changes to Technicolor when the children are in the garden and Colin walks for the first time. Corny, yes, and movie magic not as deep as the magic to which you allude, but I defy anyone not to cry and want to embrace the world as they watch it happen.

  2. I don’t know how I ever missed this wondrous, very wise story. I’m glad to know about the film…as I was concerned that it could not match the book. Something to look forward to on a down day. Thank you Cara!

  3. You make me so happy , time and again.


  4. You can find the book on Project Gutenberg
    (and maybe buy a (used) copy for the bag then ..)

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