The shapes we thought we knew

cannot hold us anymore

The lines too straight

angles too pointy

squares too boxy

We must draw circles instead

spheres of endless possibility

I wonder what shape is framing this experience for you?

It seems to me that straight lines do not always adequately capture or describe the human experience. The grand illusion that things move perpetually along to the next  in a linear fashion, with a clear view back and forth. The difficulty with this image is that it only allows motion forwards and backwards along a track, restricting our movement somewhat.

Perhaps you think of a triangle. A very sturdy and reliable shape, reassuring us that if we build in fixed supportive structures and frameworks, these bolsters will keep us safe and secure. The difficulty with a triangle is all the sharp pointy edges and tight angles involved in maintaining control.

A square might better explain things for you. The reliable square. You know what you are getting with a square. They make excellent boxes, they are highly replicable, fitting together rather well. Everyone belongs if they stay in their box.

And we could talk about prisms which refract light, or stars which are both edgy and bright, or hearts, because when all is said and done love changes everything.

But I’m drawn to the circle.

I’ve been learning about shapes, 2D and 3D with my 5 year old daughter, trying to find various shapes around our house. This got me thinking of all the different types of circle or sphere I could bring to mind. The smallest I got to was a cell, of a plant, animal or a human. Circles hem us in in a particular way, we are enclosed softly, fluidly. Circles in nature tend to have a ‘partially permeable membrane’ which serves to keep in what is beneficial and life giving, and keep out what is detrimental and life draining. In Celtic Spirituality there is a kind of prayer about this called ‘Caim’. You form circle shape around you, and ask for peace to be kept within and fear kept out, or hope kept in and despair kept out. You pray as you desire.

The largest circle I could think of was a planet, let’s say Jupiter, or Saturn with all its’ concentric rings. It seems like a pretty important shape for life. The Slow Travel Movement recommends exploring a new area in gently expanding concentric circles, rather than dashing from here to there, like the highlights were the only thing that mattered on a journey.

We’ve been a little like circles recently, each on our own small island. Marooned. Sending messages in bottles and in advanced Morse code. We may get to travel a little more now. I wonder what shape we will take to do this? The dimension of a circle means we have a lot of surface area available to make connections. A little like the picture featured by the artist Wassily Kandinsky, called Several Circles created in 1926. It shows how circles (and us) move between, across, over, under, around and about, overlapping with one another, through life.

Nature and circles, travel and circles, art and circles, and finally music and circles.  Music which takes you from nothing, to a great arch of sound, all the way round to home again. The circle shaped ‘oooo’ sound. Like the sound you make when you see a rainbow, the half circle, whose beginnings and ends are so mysterious, which only appear when the weather is jumbled and confused. The forming circle, that tells us that what is incomplete, is in fact, completely beautiful.

The shapes we thought we knew

cannot hold us anymore

The lines too straight

angles too pointy

squares too boxy

We must draw circles instead

spheres of endless possibility

2 thoughts on “The shapes we thought we knew

  1. I recall one holiday in Paris. It was to be a romantic holiday but upon this day I felt that we should visit a building known as the the Grand Arch. It is 4 dimensional. I found it delightful how the 3 ‘normal’ dimensions could be the foundation for an additional, not extra, dimension. Here I could possibly see that God was beyond what we could see or possibly imagine. Three dimensions was a known quantity, 4 dimensions yes, more even. Where does it stop?

    My wife was unimpressed…
    (https://modulouniverse.com/2015/04/14/hyperspace-and-la-grande-hypercube/)

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s