And the seasons they go ’round and ’round

I’ve experienced it myself and have watched my wife, siblings, cousins, nieces, nephews, in-laws and friends (along with their parents and children) do the same. Seeing as I know how to use a calendar you would think it the most obvious expectation in the world.  And yet when my kids come home from college and I see evidence of their advancement from one life-stage to the next (and there are countless ways to tally this) it takes me by surprise…as if I’ve never heard this song and others like it.

Written by Joni Mitchell in 1965, while in Winnipeg, Manitoba, it was a response to an equally well-known song that her friend Neil Young had written not long before, on his 19th birthday.   As she later recalled:

“There was a friend of mine up there who had just left a rock ‘n’ roll band … he had just newly turned 19, and that meant he was no longer allowed into his favorite hangout, which was kind of a teeny-bopper club and once you’re over 18 you couldn’t get in there anymore … one of the things that drove him to become a folk singer was that he couldn’t play in this club anymore … He was over the hill, so he wrote this song that was called [“Sugar Mountain”] which was a lament for his lost youth … And I thought, God, you know, if we get to 19 and there’s nothing after that, that’s a pretty bleak future, so I wrote a song for him, and for myself just to give me some hope. It’s called ‘The Circle Game’.”

First released by Tom Rush on his album of the same name in 1968, Mitchell herself featured “The Circle Game” (with Neil Young, as well as Crosby, Stills and Nash singing background vocals) on her 1970 album, “Ladies of the Canyon”.  Then in 1974 she released this particular version on her live album, “Miles of Aisles.” Go on you empty nesters, try to sing along without welling up, I defy you…

LISTEN TO TODAY’S SELECTION – Tuesday 20 November

Circle Game

Yesterday, a child came out to wander

Caught a dragonfly inside a jar

Fearful when the sky was full of thunder

And tearful at the falling of a star

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

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 through the town

You tell them, “Take your time. It won’t be long now.

‘Til 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

And go ’round and ’round and ’round in the circle game.

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