By Michelle Hynes

I love a labyrinth. I’m looking forward to seeing the ones at Grace Cathedral, perched at the top of a San Francisco hill. I often forget, though, that we have a few much closer by — a short neighborhood walk away. One of the nearby churches even created one in their parking lot during the pandemic. Somehow that doesn’t quite work — I can’t still my mind on an urban street.

For going around in circles, I prefer the beach or the garden. No real destination. Just picking up rocks or pulling weeds. Going around in circles with my feet until my thoughts can stop circling, settle in to some kind of straight line.

Going around in circles. This can feel like an endless road to nowhere… but also like freedom. Birds circling in the sky. Going around and around on two wheels on a summer day. Roller skating — a middle school memory of a rink with a wooden floor and 80s music.

Going around in circles can feel like going nowhere — or anywhere. No need to decide. Just keeping on a track, in and out, around and through, the endless spiral of a life still unfurling. Going around. Shaping the track of the day. Shaping myself into a perfect sphere, like a soap bubble. Going around, blowing around, just being taken by the breeze.

Around the corner…

Around the corner, there’s a donut shop. I can hardly eat anything there, but its sheer nearness distracts me. They’re closed on Mondays, and at 2pm, and any time they run out of donuts. They’ve been advertising frantically for bakers and baristas. Sometimes they’re just closed — too hot, no staff, no donuts.

It’s a small frivolous thing. And also a close-by reminder of what’s happening to the workforce. To retail. To the small certain joy that there will be a mochi donut around the corner after lunch. That this small local business will still exist next weekend.