Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Circling games

This morning I saw something I’d never seen before. I’d glanced out my front windows because it suddenly got a bit darker due to a low rain cloud moving between my house and the sun (the sky is otherwise partly cloudy). While I was looking, I noticed a bird flying over some houses the next street over. It was some sort of hawk, I think. And then I saw something new.

The bird stopped flying in a straight line and started circling, and I wondered what it was doing. I then realised that part way along its circle, it stopped flapping its wings, and it just glided: It had found a thermal updraft and glided round and round on it—for fun? Eventually it disappeared into that low cloud.

That cloud floated over my house, dropped some rain, and kept moving, in what’s an otherwise sunny day. I don’t know where the bird went.

Since I moved into this house, I’ve seen a lot of things I wouldn’t have noticed before, some of which I probably never had the chance to see (like all those photos of the night sky—or daytime sky, for that matter—in my neighbourhood). I’d like to think I’m more inclined to notice things, but it’s probably mostly just luck. I’ll take it.

And I hope that bird had a good time.

The title of this post is a nod to Joni Mitchell’s 1970 song, ”The Circle Game”, something I first heard at university in 1982—and have loved ever since [LISTEN]. This post is a somewhat revised version of what I posted to my personal Facebook this morning.


Roger Owen Green said...

A little pedantic musical history. Joni wrote The Circle Game in 1966. It was covered by both Ian & Sylvia and Buffy Sainte-Marie in 1967; Buffy's single failed to chart. It was the title song of a Tom Rush album in 1968 when most of my high school friends first heard it.

Joni FINALLY released it on the Ladies of the Canyon album in 1970, backed by CS&N. So when I first heard her version, I already knew the song. "And the seasons, they go round and round."

Arthur Schenck said...

As you know, I'm a huge fan of pedantic music history. I'm an even bigger fan if personal music history (and I have some stories I should tell).

As for "The Circle Game", I only found out about other versions much later. I also heard her "Big Yellow Taxi" from the same album first, and wasn't all that into the 2002 COunting Crows version—though I really liked Janet Jackson's sample of it in her 1997 single, "Got 'til it's Gone".