I'd love to live in a yurt. At least for a while, just to try it out. The simplicity of a single, open space with endless possibilities for arranging everything in it -- how cool would it be to create a larger writing or sewing space at-will, or a roomier dining space for when The Quiche Coven comes over?
But, to live in a yurt, we'd have to sell everything we own and move far away to a warmer state, and to a place where a yurt wouldn't be against residential building codes. And that would mean giving up everything about our lives that we love, like the hometown life we have here.
We set out to become part of our community when we bought this house five years ago. We soon found ourselves with new friends in addition to the couple of friends we already knew in the area. I took a class at the Y, where I met someone who has become one of my best friends, and the hub got into the music community by showing up and talking to the guys who own a local music store.
As we got out and enjoyed small-city living we naturally met people and our circles expanded. In some cases, we found that a new friend knew an old one. We weren't just meeting people new to us; we were closing loops.
And loops that want closing continue to appear.
I write a weekly column about local events for the county paper. My part of the county has its share of firemen's carnivals and bingo nights, and churches still have the spaghetti dinners and ham-and-oyster suppers they've been having for decades (one has been having its suppers for more than 40 years).
And two of the churches in my area were once served by the Methodist minister who baptized me, my brother, and my father at the same time, when my brother and I were children.
My family were attending the church where we were baptized by the time I was in elementary school. A few years later, the denomination’s district played its periodic musical chairs. When our beloved minister’s replacement came, the congregation filled up on the charismatic movement and spit out a heap o' judgement. We stopped going.
We became minister groupies, in a sense, visiting for Sunday services at each next church where ‘our’ minister was assigned. We usually went next door to the parsonage after the service to have lunch with the minister and his family. He was eventually placed at a small, country church 20 minutes away from our next house, at which point we became weekly churchgoers again.
In our groupie stage, though, I remember being in the car for what felt like forever (I was little –- in reality, it was probably only an hour) to go to Sunday services at one of the churches where he preached. Now I talk to people at that church.
It’s been fun getting to know my area better and finding these connections, which span decades -- and putting new knots in old loops.
As my brain cells ruminated on this latest knot, I began to see the loops as circles upon circles, layered and intertwining like a spiral narrowing upon itself with each rotation. I began to question whether closed loops are reassuring signs that I’m traveling on the right path or proof that our upbringing locks us into patterns we cannot escape. That’s a post for another time when I have enough energy to wrestle with the social implications of that concept.
For now, I live in the positive and see the connections as good things that tell me I’m right where I’m supposed to be at this point in my life. I’m still thrilled when I get to add another knot connecting seemingly disparate places along the spiral. And, despite my rectangular house, I'm still living in a circle.
Left: I always had a new dress for Easter.
Right: Birthday celebration at the parsonage. I think I was around eighth grade, here. And the height of fashion.