The eye is the first circle; the horizon which it forms is the second; and throughout nature this primary figure is repeated without end. It is the highest emblem in the cipher of the world.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
It’s been raining all through the night. In the morning, while walking the dog, I hop over the small lucid puddles. Looking into them, I can see the gravel at the bottom but am enchanted mainly by the life and movement still vibrating inside them.
Every drop of rain is surrounded by concentric circles, as accurate as if they were drawn by a master illustrator using the best market calipers. I remember using this magic tool while in school and how difficult it was sometimes to keep it steady and avoid the slight vibration. It makes me smile.
Nature, however, not only created the magic form with ease, it outdid itself by adding several smaller, just as perfect circles inside the biggest one. As they become smaller and smaller, these circles seem to fade a bit and lose their sharpness.
This brings back another vivid memory from my high school social studies class.
I remember a sketch we used. It reflected on the different circles we belong to. The inner circle was me, and then, in widening circles, my family, my friends, my school, and the community at large. I was fascinated not so much by the idea as by the vibrant colors and obvious notion that I was at the center of the world (at least my world).
Later on, an ambitious teacher changed this somewhat simplistic picture of my world by introducing an alternative, perhaps more accurate representation when he (or maybe it was a she) pointed out how these circles were not, in fact, one inside the other in that perfect, expected order but overlapping, cutting into each other. How can we belong to more than one circle at the same time and perhaps act differently in each one of them? The same was true for the people I knew. They could belong to my circle and simultaneously to many others.
This realization appeared so basic and yet earth-shattering, mind-blowing even at times.
It still is.
Some days I like to take a count. Reflect on the people in my life, spread out my spheres of connections, and perform time lapses on this mental map to see what was, what is, and what has slipped away over the years.
The process depends on my mood and can be inspiring, thought-provoking, and occasionally dizzying.
I shake my head to clear it from the memories while the dog inserts his front paw into the rain paddle, and within seconds, the orderly concentric world becomes a muddled pool.
"Time to move on," he nudges me gently like he always does when I get lost in my thoughts.
And we do.