My grandpa told me a story today about when he was a young man, only 16 in Chile. He, his brother and his cousin went into the countryside near Santiago to hunt and camp and enjoy the wilderness. He told me they walked through all of the first day day and long into the night and they crossed 7 shallow rivers before coming to a special berry bush. Being that this bush was so far out into the wilderness it had grown to the size of half a house. He said chilean farmers used that area to let their cattle graze and because of the mountain lions in the area the cattle had taken to hiding inside the bush overnight. There were no cattle there that night but when the three boys stepped under the branches they discovered two large rooms inside the bush carved out over many, many years by the cattle that had grazed there. He said it was so large inside that you could stand up and it was well insulated from the cold outside. In this beautiful berry tree they set up their camp for the night, guns close in case of danger.
In the middle of the night my grandpa awoke to the sound of a mountain lions growl in the distance. He clutched his gun close and waited in the darkness incase the lion should find the entrance to their hiding place. In the morning they awoke alive and well, no mountain lion in sight. All the same they decided to head out. After packing up they set out but did not wander far before running into 3 ponds all at hip level depth. When my grandpa put his hand into it he discovered it was warm while the other two were freezing cold. He said there was nothing quite like having a hot bath in the mountains in the morning. He said they were wonderful days and i could see it in his eyes and voice and the way he told it that they were so precious and so special. For a moment i thought about the bush like a house and a bath amongst the trees and the beauty of the mountain and how in those days magic would not have been hard to believe.
And then he said many years later after he was married with kids he heard about that place he'd been to as a teen. He'd heard people had discovered it, a company had bought the land, bulldozed it and turned it into a resort centred around the spring they'd found mixing the icy cold and hot water of the ponds to make their pools.
It made me feel cold. It made me feel as though id lost something, as though something i never knew would now never be available to me and that that kind of magic is largely gone or very hard to find.
In a way it kinda of filled me with determination too. Determination not to waste or squander any magic i find but cherish, remember and keep it.