circle this

There is something about the idea of a circle that I find hugely comforting. Whether it’s the circle of love and commitment symbolic to a wedding ring; the warmth and support that come from having a circle (no matter how small) of dear friends; or the eye-pleasing joy that comes from viewing a circle of trees, of children playing, or of a toe-drawn pattern in the wet sand – circles complete us and lend us strength.

“The beauty of circles is that they go around endlessly, joining people, generations, lifetimes. Sometimes the connection is seamless; sometimes surprising; and many times, magical” – that is my description of circles in the prologue to my novel, about women empowering each other through their art, and it is one that I believe in completely.

To wit:

Quilting circles, sewing circles, knitting circles. Whenever we gather in a group to create something beautiful, whether it is a singular effort like a quilt; or individual projects like sweaters, scarves, or afghans; or any kind of artisanal craft, the effect is far more than the impressive results at our fingertips. The bonding of hearts that emerges as we share not only advice and tips on the work we are doing (how do I pick up this dropped stitch?) but also the conversations about our lives (how do I mend this broken friendship?) – this is the real reward of these circles.

Book groups are their own kind of circle. Whether it’s New York Times bestsellers or classic novels, new-author offerings or the latest from a well-known writer, cutting-edge non-fiction or cookbooks, the books are just the vehicles for the connecting that happens. How many times is the book just a sidebar as we help ourselves to good food and get caught up in sharing our own personal stories? And how many times have you pretended to have read the book (life gets in the way sometimes) and went home feeling even more enriched than if you had read it? (To say nothing of those awesome nachos.)

And support circles. Grief circles. Drum circles. All shaped to make us feel part of a group. To allow us to be heard and listened to and to heal.

Maybe there’s a reason that pies are made in a circle, an endless ring of sweetness (until you take that last slice of lemon meringue that I was hoping for, thank you very much). Or why the hora is danced exuberantly at Jewish weddings (try to resist lifting elderly Aunt Shirley up in the chair, though – too risky). Or why we love donuts or Ferris wheels or hula hoops – all feel-good joys that make life better (although those hula hoops can be a real challenge).

Circles have no sharp edges – there is a fluidity and grace to them that offers a feeling of continuity, connection, and constancy. (Plus, they’re fun to draw. Interestingly, as a right-handed person, I can draw perfect circles only if I draw them counterclockwise, to my left. Go figure.)

Circular reasoning.

©2023 Claudia Grossman

3 comments on “circle this

  1. Loved it. There is a circle for every part of our lives. Never thought of it that way.!!!!!!!!

  2. Another winner.

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