Walking in circles

When my husband worked in New York, we used to walk to a nearby grocery and in the sidewalk outside their door was a circle of bird footprints. Forever fixed there in the cement. A permanent record of this one bird’s confused journey to nowhere.

Or perhaps it wasn’t confused at all. How would I know? I am not a bird. It is possible this bird knew exactly why it was going in a circle.

Circles take us back to places we’ve been before, and I am a fan of revisiting places and people. There is a lot of pressure in life to go ever forward, to make “progress.” That may work for some, but I find circling back to the familiar comforting and challenging, familiar and revealing all at once.

As I leave one calendar year and enter another, I hope to keep circling past people and places I’ve seen before, even as I discover new things. Sometimes when you circle past pain you find healing, when you revisit resentment you can find forgiveness, when you return to the times you were inadequate you find that you are, in fact, enough.

When I first saw it I laughed. Not so much at the bird, but more because that circle made me think of what my journey must look like from such a vantage point, from above looking down. Am I going in a straight line? A circle? Am I going anywhere?

When you live your life in circles, you can keep people with you that you’ve met the last times around. People who are lovely and frustrating and mean and generous and who can teach you things about life that no one can learn on their own. Most of what I’ve learned about myself and about life I’ve learned from the people in my circles.

Round and round we go.

Happy New Year. May your life take you where you need to go and I hope you circle around to me as you go about your way.