The Carousel of Time
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 gameChorus of “Circle Game” by Joni Mitchell (1967)
Last weekend, we attended my niece’s wedding in Connecticut; the venue was Lighthouse Point in New Haven. It was a magical time as this wedding transported about 100 people, ranging in age from teens to octogenarians, away from this ridiculously complicated world of our present-day into a fantastic place of family, friendship, love, and celebration. Included in the crowd were my father, uncle and aunt, brothers and sister, my beautiful wife and kids, my future son-in-law, and old and new friends.
How was it possible that all of us could be raptured away for five hours?
Maybe it was the childlike quality of the venue and the event. Lighthouse Point sits at the eastern side of the mouth of New Haven harbor. The wedding ceremony took place on the beach just a few hundred feet from the lighthouse. Who doesn’t love the beach!
Maybe it was the fabulously honest and unpretentious dessert comprised of a tower of individual cupcakes that could win Cupcake Wars, topped off with a modest cake at the summit. Or maybe it was the Mister Softy ice cream truck that showed up after sunset, and the guests could order anything on the menu! “J” had a twist cone dipped in chocolate, and I had a strawberry milkshake. And my 84-year-old father had a banana split, and he ate it with childlike zeal!
But piece de résistance was the 116-year-old carousel inside a building built around this merry-go-round in 1916, and it is fully functional. This was the reception site, and the guests had exclusive access to ride the carousel as much as they wanted for about an hour and a half. It went round and round, carrying many of us. Simply magical!
As I sat back and observed, I realized that this carousel was a transporter. As I watched it go round, I saw generations go round and round. I spotted my sister’s father-in-law and my sister and her husband. I saw my brother and his wife, and “J” as well. I saw nieces and nephews ride by, and I saw Chewie, Baby, and the Schmooze. Generations were going round and round.
But I also saw the last eighteen months washed away by this Carousel of Time, at least for a few hours. Two Lenten and Easter seasons, two summers, a Halloween, a Thanksgiving, and an Advent and Christmas season came and went without the usual trappings. I missed birthdays and graduations and retirement parties. People were moving in, and others were moving away with very little to mark the event. People’s deaths were barely recognized, and children were born with little or no fanfare. Weddings were reduced to a dozen people or postponed weddings with venues refusing to give back deposits. Virtual graduations and first days of school, and new careers beginning under restrictive guidelines. Politics and manipulation, misinformation, and division. Fear, fear, and more fear. All washed away for about five hours!!!
In its place: Love, Family, Community, Joy, and Peace.
I give thanks to you, Creator of Life, the Universe, and Everything. You have never left us over the past eighteen months, four years, multiple decades of life, or ever! Thank you for the carousel of time and reminding us that we are not captives on it but rather fellow travelers!