Sitting thinking of a circle

Bird Droppings January 3, 2022

Sitting thinking of a circle

I am looking through various shows, movies, and miniseries for a series I enjoyed, Into the West. I will find it one of these days. The series starts and ends with a circle of stones with a line going east to west and one going north to south through the circle. In our yard’s back area, we have been off and on building a memory garden. It is a rock garden with numerous succulents and sedums planted among the rocks that are special to us. The garden, when finished, will be a circle. Each quadrant has a space that eventually will be filled with young trees. A Japanese cedar was given to us when my wife’s father passed away by my friends at the high school and now stands nearly forty-foot tall. A Live Oak honors my father at the opposite side as we finish our project, hopefully, one day. We side-tracked with a rock garden pond, planted with sedums and various other plants, some aquatic.

“You have noticed that everything, as Indian does, is in a circle, and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round. The Sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball, and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their nest in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours…. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing and always come back to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves.” Black Elk Ogallala Sioux Holy Man

It has been over fifty years since I wrote a short poem about myself. At that time, perhaps, it was self-analysis or a self-description, “One little circle – alone – unopened.” It has been nearly twenty years since I headed towards Piedmont College to start my graduate studies, and I thought is the circle alone and or unopened. I had grown very close to the people in my cohort. As I attended graduate school, I became a much better teacher as I became a better student. Henry David Thoreau was a teacher until he realized he must be a learner first, and he needed to be a student again, and in doing so, he became a better teacher.

As I look at the circle I have in my education, and it is only the beginning, not the ending and the process of friends and fellow learners in my cohort at Piedmont and now as I continued my education at Georgia Southern and the teachers at my various schools all touch unto that circle and in effect keep it spinning and evolving. Black Elk, an Ogallala Sioux holy man, using nature to define this circle nearly a hundred years ago and Follow the Buffalo, holy man of the movie series “Into the West,” who was sitting in the sacred circle in the North Dakota hills throughout the movie addressed the white man with various other characters. My son once told me of a circle’s definition in geometric terms borrowing from Wikipedia.

“In Euclidean geometry, a circle is the set of all points in a plane at a fixed distance, called the radius, from a fixed point, called the centre.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As I sit here thinking, pondering, my circle has grown and furthered my education. My circle includes all I have met, emailed, talked with in grocery stores, schools, colleges, and numerous other places worldwide. The circle continues and grows with each step, word, sensation, and breath I take while I am privileged to live. As you think about your circle, keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and always give thanks.

My family and friends, I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin

(We are all related)


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