Chapel, Change and The Circle Game

On Friday mornings, our Lower School gathers for Chapel. It is one of my favorite moments of the week. All students, every teacher and a few parents. We sing, we reflect, we listen to students play music, and we listen to a message from an adult in our community. We celebrate birthdays and accomplishments, and poetry that has been written and shared that week. We share family news. Today’s chapel was presented by a longtime teacher who will retire at the end of this school year.  He read The Giving Tree.  He didn’t talk about his retirement, he talked about changes.Good changes, hard changes, necessary changes, unexpected changes. He never mentioned his own pending change, which is huge. He has been teaching at our school for over 30 years. He spoke to all of us, reminding us that change is a part of life and even tough changes get better with time. He was so graceful and kind. His message was so timely. When he finished talking, he played his guitar and sang Joni Mitchell’s “The Circle Game.” I will carry his message with me for the rest of today and probably much much longer.   

The Circle Game

by Joni Mitchell   Printer-friendly version of this lyric

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 

Then the child 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 thru the town 
And they tell him take your time it won’t be long now
Till you drag your feet 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’ll 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

3 thoughts on “Chapel, Change and The Circle Game

  1. I love both the song and the book. The song reminds me of camp. My daughter will be old enough to go to sleep away camp next summer and it is hard to believe. I do, however, look forward to having her learn camp songs so we can sing them together.

    Like

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