Wednesday, January 7, 2015

7/365-3 Solitude

"Circles of Quiet"

I am an only child.  Only children, at least those few that I have known, are content with solitude for the most part.  When I was little, I remember spending countless hours creating with my Spirograph, often when there were no neighborhood kids around with whom to play.  Its possibilities were endless, always a new design.  In all those hours, I bet I never even came close to creating the same design twice.  It was like magic as the beautiful geometric forms emerged just from moving a plastic circle round and round and round inside another circle.  I don't know what happened to my original Spirograph. We parted ways sometime along the way.

This year for Christmas, Weber got me a new Spirograph.  It is a little different from the 1970 version, but it still has its magic.  No longer do you a need a piece of cardboard to stick pins to anchor the big circle guide so that it doesn't move.  The Spirograph now comes with that sticky tack stiff like you use to hold posters on the wall.  You can stick the plastic piece right to the paper.  This small set also only comes with two colored pens, red and blue.  The big set from my childhood had a black and green pen as well.  That doesn't matter so much.  I have a plethora of pens in way more than four colors!  And the sticky tack stuff is also a nice improvement.  Everything else is as I remember it, the clear plastic wheels and rectangles just waiting to combine and make beautiful shapes.  And all of this in a cool little tin box making it more portable than my original version.

This morning after I finished writing my morning pages, the brightly colored tin box with my new Spirograph caught my attention from its perch on the corner of the dining room table. I pulled out random pieces, stuck the wheel to my paper and off I went, making magic.  As I circled that wheel round and round moving my pens from one hole to the next, I was struck with how calming, how peaceful, how meditative this whole process was.  I now know that what I was creating forty-five years ago with my first Spirograph and what I made this morning are mandalas - sacred circles.  This morning I was overcome with calm and peace in my moments of quiet and solitude.  I suspect that the quiet circles of the Spirograph had the same calming effect on me all those years ago, I just didn't realize it. 

I wonder what children would be like today if they spent more time playing with Spirograph and less time playing video games.