Yesterday a child went 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, they 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.
Now the child who dreamed of tomorrow is twenty
Though her dreams have lost some grandeur coming true
There'll be new dreams maybe better dreams and plenty
Before the last revolving year is through…
We learned "The Circle Game" during our summers at Girl Scout camp in Indiana. We’d sing Joni Mitchell’s song singing around a campfire into the night. I remember loving it from the first time I heard the words. The melody came to stay right away in my heart – and stays with me still. I remember when I learned the words for the first time, I could not imagine being 20, as the last verse says. I was excited then about being 16, but 20…wow that was old.
And as my good friends Susie, Kimberly and Ellen and I sat around the table for yet another Saturday breakfast at Evans yesterday morning, I found myself looking at our hair. I’ve known these good, wise women for many years – and when we started meeting for our weekly breakfasts together, we were dark-headed.
And time has come. And time has past. We’ve ridden through some pretty tough storms – together. We’ve shared deep sorrow and deep joy- together. We show up with and for one another.
And time continues to pass. But it is certainly not passing us by. We are leaning in and doing our best, day-by-day and week-by-week. We keep showing up with and for each other.
Many of the folks I encounter or interact with now have more grey hairs than not. Wrinkles are on faces – and I see and understand well now, laugh lines.
Time goes round, seasons fold one into the next – and I was reminded again yesterday morning just how blessed I am. I still can cry at the falling of a star, my dreams have lost some grandeur in coming true, but ahhh, there is such a deep, rich gift of growing up and growing older with such good folks … and the circle goes on.
Working in Family Experience at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. A Candler School of Theology graduate, Lesley has just published her second book, Grief and the Psalms: Companioning the Moon for 29 Days (available on this website). She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan and Sam in Decatur, GA.