All my life’s a circle. Harry Chapin used to sing that, and it is a truth that keeps me rolling on, hopefully sometimes, and then ecstatically other times, when the synchronicities bloom, letting me know I am planted in exactly the right place. My dear old friend Al Dale is dying this week, and things get surreal when people we know are crossing that mysterious threshold. Grief is a circle too.
Within my circle, this week, I’ve found new friends. Someone I’ve worked with for a while revealed parts of herself that made me say “you should come to dinner at my house, bring your mother and her dog (who remind me of my mother and our dog.) There is a natural kinship between people who have lived (longer than a camp-out) the rural no electricity no running water reality. We share pity for rich people who never had the unbeatable thrill of returning to refrigeration. Oddly, I feel lately also a kinship with Roseanne Barr, because despite her fame and wealth, she did at one time in her life “live in a cave” and also the Mary Daly thing. I love anyone who loves Mary Daly. (Read Roseannarchy recently, comedy researching. It was funny, but I liked these little parallel life tracks better than the jokes.)
My other “new friend” is of the same distant ilk. Kelly Carlin. She doesn’t know me, but I’ve been listening to her podcasts and she reminds me of me and of all my favorite smart women. The internet thing for her is Waking from the American Dream. Listening to her, I’m getting true glimpses of the comedians’ lives, but also echoes of my own way of thinking, the reassurance that being an oddball is just fine and in fact wonderful and brilliant. Her laugh reminds me of at least two women I love. She’s funny, of course, her father is the George. I had a funny father too, who died the same year, who told me Art Bell stories, who was his own kind of genius and sometimes a beloved thorn in my side. She is nine years younger than me, but has seen more of the world. She married the same year Will and I married. Sometimes I think that for the rest of my life, there will be no bigger story than “My father died in January and my husband died in June.” I love that Kelly still has her husband, lives with him. Meanwhile I still have, and live with, my mother. Her mother joined that outer circle before our dads and Will, and soon enough Al. Don’t forget Harry. There’s some balance in all of this that keeps me spinning.
All our lives are circles. I live for the overlaps, circles sharing similar orbits, like the rings around Saturn. Spinning on, I turn 60 next week. The facebook will fill with blah-blah birthday wishes and I’ll live right through them, celebrating the surreal fact of breathing, breathing, breathing, still.