The Circle Game: Past Meet Present

Life can be softly circular sometimes. At other times it can be downright blatant. I’m going through a blatantly circular stage.

I unpacked a couple of my tubs last weekend. I have a sock and underwear drawer. My toiletries are in a drawer in the bathroom. I actually have some clothes hung up in a closet. I left my home on July 16th and for the first time in four months, I’ve settled in to a home for a smidgen of time. Why? I have only one pet-sitting gig (starting tonight for one week) during a 6-week period, so I took my friend Poppy up on her kind offer to move in with her for that period. Poppy has been a single mother/homeowner for as long as I have been and her place feels as close to home as is possible.

Poppy and I led parallel lives on so many fronts. We both came from large families. We lived in Boston at the same time in our lives. We lived in two coastal Maine towns that were right beside each other at the same time. We had our first daughters the same year. We woke our daughters up in the mornings by playing the same song (on a record) every single morning: Chelsea Morning by Joni Mitchell. Poppy was friends with a girl who grew up in the house that I just sold and played there often as a youngster. The list goes on and on. Poppy and I were introduced as adults about 15 years ago. We still enjoy discovering new parallel experiences. But here’s one of the best ones.

Our daughters enrolled in a drama class in an extremely large high school and when my daughter heard the life-story introductory speech of Poppy’s daughter, she went up to her at the end of class and told her that they were going to be best friends. And then they were. They now both live in California—at opposite ends of the state. The most fascinating part of their story is that their friendship started at about the same time as Poppy’s and mine, but the two pairs didn’t know that we were mothers and daughters. Our relationships each developed independently. Some things just seem meant to be.

Last night Poppy and I reminisced about when our girls were young and how much fun we had raising them and how miraculous it was that they found each other the same time she and I found each other. We remembered the fabulous music by Judy Collins, Linda Ronstadt, Carly Simon, Carol King and Bonnie Raitt and how those female artists all played central roles in the raising of our girls.

Sierra's dresser[This is my daughter’s dresser top today. Carly Simon, Carol King, Linda Ronstadt. The influence lives on.]

However, the lyrics of Joni Mitchell provided such a strong musical (and artistic?) foundation for all of us. It provided a perspective of the circular nature of life. And as I last night snuggled in the bed of my daughter’s best friend, feeling warm and welcome, Joni’s lyrics (that both families sang hundreds of times) come to my mind.

“Yesterday a child came out to wonder
Caught a dragonfly inside a jar
Fearful when the sky was full of thunder
And tearful at the falling of a star
And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

Then the child moved ten times round the seasons
Skated over ten clear frozen streams
Words like, when you’re older, must appease him
And promises of someday make his dreams
And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game.”

crazy dollP.S. I found this crazy woman doll on a bookshelf in my room last night. My daughters and I always called ourselves the Wild and Wacky Weaver Women. I know that Poppy and her daughter lived on the crazy side of life as well. As Joni says, “we can’t return, we can only look behind from where we came.” I think I got to glance backwards a bit tonight. And I also have to say, I really, really love this wacky doll. Past: please meet Present.

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