Around and Around in Circles
A circle has no beginning and no end. Our world, our solar system, our universe, and even life itself, is all about circles. The moon circles the earth, the earth circles the sun, the sun circles the center of the Milky Way, and the Milky Way circles the center of the universe. Everything is in circles.
It’s the middle of autumn, and winter’s breath beyond already breathes near the slant of the sun. The death of autumn will give birth to winter. And the death of winter gives birth to spring, Seasons go around and around in circles.
We celebrate the birth of a new season and pine the passing of another. The circle of the seasons turns slowly, yet the seasons pass quickly. It seems only yesterday I was sweltering in the mid-summer heat. Then, one day I looked up and found that autumn’s breath had painted the trees with magical colors. And only yesterday, an out-of-season early winter wind washed away the beautiful colors and the colorful and magical trees into black and white and gray creaking skeletons.
Around and around the circle of time so beautifully deceives.
I thought I had more time than I did. Winter is just a howling wind away, Spring will be here before I know it. And we will start all over again.
Around and around the circle of time changes my world and I have no control over it. And that is how it should be.
Our lives are circles too. Rich or poor, black or white, Christian, Jew, or Muslim, it does not matter. We all share at least these three things:
- We are all born and we will all die.
- We all breathe the same air.
- The circle of life will take each of us on a journey from birth to death Not one of us can escape the endless circle of time.
Around and around, the circles of the universe continue within us and without us.
I often find myself reflecting on where I stand in my own circle of life. If my circle of life was a clock would the bell be tolling at 10 PM or 11 PM? How close to midnight am I? It could even be later than that. I cannot see the hands on the face of the clock that goes around and around in the circle of life.
It may be much closer to midnight than I imagine. Midnight might be several hours away. One thing I know for sure, in my life it’s getting late – it’s not daytime anymore.
Or is it? On the face of the clock of life, my life is now in the late evening. If my life were the cycle of the seasons, it would surely be winter. Winter… when the nights are long and the days are short.
But is spring just a breath away?
I waste time as if I had all the time in the world. The face of the clock in the middle of the circle of my life is shrouded in a mist so thick I cannot see it. I don’t want to see it anyway. I’m afraid to see fast the hands of the clock are moving. Around and around in circles.
I hear the clock ticking behind me. The house is dark and quiet. The clock has just chimed eleven times. Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, each second ticking away. The hands on the clock don’t seem to move as I watch them. But when I turn away and look back the clock’s hands tell me it is now 11:06. Where did those six minutes go?
It’s late and I want to sleep. I imagine the circumference of the circle of my life as if it were bounded by a river. When my life’s journey began the river flowed lazily; a soft meandering stream, barely a ripple could be seen in the slow current. There were only a few ripples as the river passed through some narrow canyons along the way. The river flowed so slowly that I barely knew it was moving.
The raft on which I travel now is floating on more turbulent waters now and the river is flowing faster and faster and faster through the ethereal and enigmatic realm of the rapids of time. I passed through a land of green trees, emerald grass, and beautiful flowers of every color. I passed through the land of magical trees so colorful they hid the death that lay within. I see flurries of snow and hear the wind whistle through lifeless trees.
The river isn’t placid anymore; it is foamy and white and buzzing with the sound of a waterfall in the distance. I cannot tell how far away it is, but I know it is there because I can hear it. And, I know I cannot escape its murderous cataracts. I know it is only a matter of time before its thundering cascades take me and I plunge into the dark abyss that awaits beneath the falls.
I cannot get off of the raft I am on and I cannot leave the river that flows at the edge of the circle of my life. The circles on the river of my life are unchangeable. I can only go with the flow of the river.
And the waterfall up ahead, the one I cannot escape, must not distract me from making the most of what time I have left of my journey. Sometimes it is hard to ignore the sound of the falls, but I must or the thought will paralyze me. And I cannot allow that to happen. I have so much more to do and so much more I want to see.
I like to think once the waterfall crushes me and ends my life that I will wake up on another raft right back on the river, right back where I started – in the peaceful, placid, still water, in the springtime of life.
Even if I did I would never know it because I would never remember my previous journeys. The waterfall will claim me and the river will flow on and on without me. I will be out of time and the hands on the face on the circle of the clock of my life will be stuck at midnight — forever.
Around and around in circles.
The moon is circling above. The clock’s hands circle its face. Each tick, tick, tick of the clock moves the hands a little closer to midnight.
I go around and around in the circle of my circle and you go around and around in yours. It’s late autumn which means that winter is near. And everything is a circle going around and around.
And everything is in a universe that is, no doubt, unfolding exactly as it should.
“Birth and death are one
The pattern of repeating.
Yet never really meeting…”