Saturday, January 08, 2011


I clearly remember the bathroom in the house where we lived in Durban, South Africa when I was a young school girl. The commode faced the door and a calendar hung on the back of that door. I studied the calendar each time I used the room and to this day, can easily count forward by 7's. (Now I practice counting backwards by 7's in preparation for the day when some young health professional will give me the MMSE to test my cognition)


Calendars reinforce the concept that time is linear. But we have come around to another January, to another weekend, to another day of 24 hours. Circles represent repetition, continuity and eternity in our lives.

I spent time in the hospital chapel one day this week during my break. The stained glass windows are not typical of those found in Christian churches and represent humanity rather than divinity in the interdenominational setting. As family units, neighbours, and a global community, the sphere of the earth represents human connection far more than straight, non-intersecting lines into space and time.

This tower stands as a memorial to the pioneers who settled in our region over 200 years ago. It is high on a bluff above the river and individual fieldstones catch the light of the late afternoon sun as it shines on the circular structure. It is surrounded now by a modern subdivision and bustling city which the original settlers would never have imagined.

This week Dad told me a little about things which shaped his outlook on life and how he and mom were different because of events in their respective birth families. In fifty plus years he has never spoken of such things to me yet I know the generations before me are part of the sum of who I am today. It is good to talk about the past, to understand each person who is in our historical and present circle.

We see life encircled in the womb, a cocoon, an egg, a nest, a seed, a piece of fruit. As we age, we need to reach out and hold onto those who are younger so they recognize their sphere and know their place in this world. It is a lonely journey when we move in a straight line away from the love and support of those closest to us. Yet many people do that with critical attitudes and an unwillingness to accept variations and changes around them.

Last evening I found a jar of bubbles in the cupboard. I put a towel on the floor and blew bubbles until the Becka was quite sure I was insane. The soapy circles were beautiful to look at but were very fragile and fleeting. And so is life...

Many are the woes of the wicked but the Lord’s unfailing love
surrounds the man who trusts in him.
Psalm 32:10


  1. Mexico Mom12:55 pm GMT-5

    Wow - what a thought-provoking post, but how true!
    You have inspired me even at my age to keep the circle enlarging to include great grandchildren as well as the older generations.
    Thank you for the reminder.

  2. Wonderfully written post. So true life with everything around us is connected in a circle somehow. Family being a very important part and our history will help us understand who we are. In this nuclear world family has fallen apart. A true loss for all. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. A very nice photo essay. I suppose if life is both a line and a circle, it's a spiral -- all downward. :)

  4. I think the sanity levels were established by 8 AM yesterday morning. >_<

  5. Tip for studying for the MMSE...subtract 10 and add 3!

  6. you are such a thoughtful writer. As always a post to generate introspection.

  7. Beautiful thoughts.
    My dad's antique business is named after the Pioneer Tower. When I was little I always kind of thought it was ours...I didn't realize that other people knew about :)
    Life is fleeting and fragile.
    I love that you blew bubbles.

  8. Very thoughtful post, and thought provoking, too. I like to think of life as a circle. We go forward, and yet we somehow come around, back to our beginnings and encircled by our heritage.

  9. How lovely that you got to have that conversation with your father.

  10. Beautiful and thought-provoking post, Ruth. I loved it, and the photographs fit so well.

  11. "will the circle be unbroken, by and by, Lord, by and by..." sorry, your post made me break into song! Very good points you make there. Seems we all need to learn that we are all connected. Perhaps then we would understand that when we hurt one person we are actually hurting ourselves.

  12. I've been thinking about time moving in circles lately. I don't really know why, but it comes to me often. I googled "circular time" and came up with the philosophy of aboriginals. I found it quite interesting.

    I agree with the others - this is a very thought-provoking post.
    And gorgeous pics!

  13. I enjoyed reading this post.It makes me want to spend more time talking about my parents past history while I still have the opportunity.You are an excellent writer.I can imagine your words being used as a narration for a movie or show that I would enjoy watching.


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