Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Circle Game & Thanksgiving

My niece about ten years ago. 
She's the youngest of my parents' 16 grandkids.

If the picture below looks like a tight squeeze, that's because it was. It's from Thanksgiving thirteen years ago. We were lucky we all fit in the same area to eat together. At the time I had a camera that took panorama shots, so I stood on top of a bar stool and was able to fit everyone in. 

Looking back at the picture below, I now realize what a special Thanksgiving it was. At the time, it seemed like an ordinary family holiday. Three of my four siblings and their families, plus my parents and grandmother, celebrated at our house. We ate and laughed and joked and ate and played charades and ate some more.

Little did we realize that some of us would be moving away. Get-togethers like this are a rarity now. The kids grew up in a flash, went their own ways, and now the family is more scattered than ever. My grandmother has since passed away (we miss you, Grandma), the children are grown, some have married, and some are now parents themselves. My folks have five great-grandchildren and more on the way! 

And so the cycle of generations continues.

This Thanksgiving I'm reflecting on how thankful I am for my family and friends and times like this. For some reason, The Circle Game comes to mind. It's a beautiful folk song by Joni Mitchell from the '60s. The lyrics are below. 

Thanksgiving at my house in 1998



The Circle Game

 by Joni Mitchell
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 boy 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

Sixteen springs and sixteen summers gone now
Cartwheels turn to car wheels through the town
And they tell him,
Take your time, it won't be long now
Till you drag your feet just to slow the circles down
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

So the years spin by and now the boy is twenty
Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true
There will be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty
Before the last revolving year is through
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



What are you thankful for? Can you relate to these lines in the song, "Take your time, it won't be long now - Till you drag your feet just to slow the circles down"?

23 comments:

Al Penwasser said...

I'm thankful for my entire family. Without them, I wouldn't be who I am today (so, really, you have THEM to blame).
What a beautiful picture. Almost makes me weepy!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Although this is a bittersweet thing to say I'm thankful for the memories of those who are gone now. I'd love to turn the circle back sometimes.
Happy thanksgiving to you, Lynn.

comingalive said...

My mom's family is that size. My grandmother had 9 children, but we didn't scatter. Except for one who moved a couple hours away all her children stayed in the same town they grew up in. And nearly all the grandchildren have stayed there as well.

After my grandmother sold her house (to my cousin) we rent a community hall for Chrstimas becuase there must be close to 70 with the great-grandchildren now.

Have a great Thanksgiving. (Canadian so I'm past that point)

LynNerdKelley said...

Al - Yes, family, for sure. "Almost makes me weepy," you're a hoot!

Pat - That is bittersweet, but I'm thankful for the memories of the wonderful people I've known who have passed on. Thanks for pointing that out.

Comingalive - Wow, your family is huge, and I think it's wonderful that you all live so close. I bet you guys have a blast when you get together!

Wendy G. Ewurum: Blog Author said...

This is such a wonderful memory to have Lyn and you should be grateful for it everyday as you are. I would have given my right arm..........

Margo Berendsen said...

Yes, I would like to slow those circles down! My kids are growing up fast and those people who were once strong protectors are now fragile and failing.

Great song! Thanks for sharing that picture, too.

I'm thankful to be learning just how precious each and every day is.

Old Kitty said...

What a lovely pic of all the family! Where has time gone?!!? Happy Thanksgiving! Your neice looks so much like you!

Take care
x

C D Meetens said...

You're so lucky to have experienced Thanksgivings like that with most of your family there. It's a great picture. It does make you wish for times like that when you know you can't have them again though, doesn't it?

I can certainly relate to those words about dragging your feet to slow the circles down. Sometimes, I'd quite like to go round some of the circles again, and re-experience some of those happy moments with me (much smaller) family.

catherinemjohnson.wordpress.com said...

Wow that was a massive get together. You must be quite nostalgic now looking back. Whatever this one brings you I hope it's a good one!

inluvwithwords said...

What a great family picture and what a blessing that memory must be.

Thanks for sharing the song. I'd never heard the circle game. Lovely, lovely, lyrics. "We can't return we can only look behind" that line made me cry. It'll be a rough day tomorrow without my father able to join us (he's in a nursing home.) But I'm so very thankful for family and that we're all in close proximity and can see each other often.

Have a wonderful day!

Joshua said...

My in-laws' house looks a lot like that big picture every Thanksgiving and Christmas. It makes my blood pressure rise just thinking about it.

Stephanie D said...

This post gave me the good kind of chills. Very sweet and I love the family photo. That's one to frame and keep on your wall. How very special.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Angela Orlowski-Peart said...

Beautiful post, Lynn. And I love the song lyrics. I think I will copy it and keep it on my computer to read from time to time. I have a folder with favorite poems and this one definitely belongs there :-)

The photo is so nostalgic. It makes me think of my family back in Europe (although I think of them all the time anyway) :-)

Have a great Thanksgiving.

Otter said...

Now that's a big family dinner. My family is so spread out now we don't see them as often and very rarely at the same time. Looks like a happy picture.

Stephen Tremp said...

Now that's a family reunion! My grandfather came from a family of 16 kids. Three sets of twins, of which he was one. But at the turn of the 19th century, this was the norm if you lived on a farm. More kids, more help in the fields.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

debrakristi said...

Beautiful Lynn. Thank you for sharing that piece of you. You have a lovely family. What a cherished picture.

I am grateful for my family and all the warm memories I hold dear.

Coleen Patrick said...

Love that pic with your family--so awesome. That's what i'm thankful for is family! :)

LynNerdKelley said...

Thank you all for your comments. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

cd sutton said...

"We can't return, we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game"


I had never heard this song before either. thanks for the post. I love the words and meaning to it. A good family reunion song!

Carol Kilgore said...

What a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing all your family. I'm thankful for so much I can't begin to list everything.

Misha said...

Beautiful post. It's so special that you have a picture like that. Mine is a Christmas picture from four years ago. My mother's one brother, his wife and his daughter (who I grew up with) came to visit for the holidays. The year after that, my parents divorced, my uncle divorced and my cousin went to university.

It's really sad, sometimes, when I think of the good times we had that are gone now.

Almost makes me wish I took more pictures.

LynNerdKelley said...

Thank you for your comments. You guys just don't know how much they brighten up my day!

Misha - I know what you mean. It's sad when things change like that, and we take it for granted at the time.

alarnarosegray said...

Lyn, thanks so much for your link to this post. It's such a lovely song.

I'm appreciate being able to share moments like this with you, across the globe.

Love and peace :)