Round and Round

Round and Round

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

— Joni Mitchell, “The Circle Game”

Many times (I’ve lost count) in the past few weeks, someone has greeted me with one of the standard, seemingly innocuous, chit-chatty, questions — “How are you?” “How’s it going?” “How are things?”

You may not be surprised to learn that I practice responding with at least some sincerity even to those non-questions. And I’ve found myself saying often, and dryly, “It’s June.”

I’ve received a lot of commiserating looks and sighs and responses, especially from other parents and clergy and anyone who works in the school system.

Yes, it’s June.

Around this time every year, we whose lives follow the ebb and flow of the traditional school year seem all to feel a little bit “crispy” (as a colleague describes it). For me, June is characterized by a persistent weariness, lack of interest in anything that seems productive, and yearning for lazier days near a body of water. As a parent, I look forward to a couple months with no alarm clocks for the kids, and no daily lunch-packing, and no nightly “what’s the homework situation?” routine. And yes, I know that by the end of August I’ll be wishing for the return to school and that routine.

The seasons, they go round and round . . . 

This year, June also means saying some particularly poignant good-byes — to staff members who are leaving the congregation, and to other members of our community whose families are relocating this summer. Staff members Tom Benjamin and Jen Raffensperger have served UUCC so lovingly and well. Their partings are bittersweet, as I know it’s the right time, and I know I will see them in other contexts, and yet still I will miss their unique contributions to our community.

Thank you, Tom. Thank you, Jen. Fare thee well, indeed.

The seasons, they go round and round . . . 

Scientists and other wise ones tell us that our brains and bodies are attentive to anniversaries, whether or not we are consciously aware of them. So, as I feel intensely aware of the ever-present things happening in my little world right now, I’m also inviting myself to think about this time and this season in its larger context.

What sorts of June and summer memories are living in me and needing my attention? (Among them: In recent years, some UUCC conflicts that escalated in June and were ultimately growth-ful for me and others, and painful and traumatic for some. Two years ago, my father’s final weeks and then his death in July. Fourteen years ago, learning that I was pregnant for the first time in my life.)

The seasons, they go round and round . . . 

I extend to you, too, the invitation to reflect on what seasonal memories and anniversaries need your attention as we go round and round on the carousel of time in this circle game.

With love,


  1. KAB


    Very timely . We’re completing our 2 weeks in the place we grew up. Life is a circle. We visit with old friends and acquaintances recounting dates of events during our formative years in The Hudson/River Falls, Wi area. With some , we have little in common but the common denominator is our unique experience in this small microcosm of small town America..

  2. Gail M Thompson

    Sixty years ago David Marjarum and I were married June 13. Much has happened since, ups and downs like the painted pony. I have all joy in remembering, no regrets. Bring on the seasons!

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