Featuring Jonathon Huckvale
Reflections on Magic: Parenthood, Nature and the Holidays
On December 17, 2013, my son was born and my life was forever changed. The experience of becoming a father had a significant impact on me in more ways than I can attempt to write in just one article. It was a miracle. I felt as if I had participated in something much bigger than myself and I was fundamentally transformed.
My son and I would bond over the next few months as we spent most of our days going on walks around the lake near our home. Our time in nature provided hours of deep connection and vibrant discovery, which it continues to do to this day.
In the Spring of 2014 I had an experience that profoundly affected me. I couldn’t get enough of nature and the refreshing energy of the emerging sun. After my wife got home from work, we all went for a walk around the lake. The trail was quiet, though there were several people out enjoying the sunshine, but that quietness was overtaken by something greater. I heard the laughter of a little boy from off in the distance. It was a father and a son. I turned around to see a man running down the path with his little boy on his shoulders. The boy was holding a toy airplane above his head and the man was mimicking airplane noises as he weaved from left to right and crouched low and jumped high causing the child to laugh freely with each turn and bump. My heart. As he ran past me, the man’s eyes were bright and alive. He seemed conscious that other people were watching him, but he didn’t seem worried about the judgements of other people because he was in a zone – a world of just him and his son. It filled the whole park with magic. There were around 30 people in the park that day and everyone felt it. The sounds of a child laughing, the imagination, the make believe, the running, the bond, it was so powerful. Just the sound alone, it was more powerful than the boom of a symphony, the roar of a crowd, or the rushing flow of a river.
It was magical. And it was undeniable. To this day, I have been unable to match the intensity and power that I feel when I see a father wholeheartedly playing with his son out in nature.
Later down the road, we were confronted with the dilemma of how we wanted to handle Christmas and other traditions. Christmas had caused us to feel a spectrum of emotions, both higher and lower. We loved the feeling of connecting with family and giving of ourselves in service to others but we had come to abhor the consumerism that seems to suffocate the authentic spirit of the holidays. We decided to focus on the magic of the holiday spirit. The lights, the music, the cheer, the hot cocoa, the snow, the chimney smoke and warm festive fires, the children, the magic. We’re finding a way to integrate the magic and nostalgia more intentionally and uniquely to our family. We are also celebrating Hanukkah and Kwanza this year and have loved finding the same spirit of charity, of giving and gratitude, in all holiday traditions.
It is also the end of the year, leaving New Years Day just around the corner. As a child, I wasn’t as excited about this holiday, but as I’ve become an adult, it is among my favorites. It’s magical to me. It’s the start of something new. The chance to imagine new possibilities, explore new roads, experience new seasons. I love everything that is new.
May this holiday season bring new possibilities to experience magic. May we be open to intuition, emotion, and perception as we seek to understand the mystery of human life. May we be more committed to feeling our spirit and other people’s spirits. May we connect our spirits to nature and to all that is.
I wish you happy holidays! Joy to the world! And I wish all of you who are on this journey a happy New Year. This is one of the most exciting times that we could have ever hoped to be alive. 2017 is going to be incredible.
Jonno (as he likes to be called) is a devoted father and husband, sharing that parenthood is his greatest work. He and his wife, Nancy, along with their two boys have been active within the TreeSong community, attending many programs and events. They’re enthusiastically dedicated to TreeSong and its mission, even considering ‘TreeSong’ as their second child’s middle name! Jonno is a substitute teacher, writer, and independent scholar, at times presenting at academic conferences. He is also in the midst of developing a consulting business. In addition, he’s a self-taught guitarist who likes to play punk rock!