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Essays by Karen Anderson: Circle of Light

Essays by Karen Anderson.png
Illustration by Kacie Brown

I am walking in my neighborhood on a winter day and see a mother pulling a small child on a sled. As they cross the street, the sled bounces down a curb and suddenly I feel the jolt and it is my mittened hands gripping the wooden frame.

Looking up, I see my father holding the rope and snow filtering through street lights. We have come outside after dinner and everything is glistening and quiet. Pulling the sled across the street, my father stops in the middle of an empty intersection.

“Hold on tight,” he says and begins to turn round and round, spinning my sled out from him in a wide arc, round and round in the feathery snow, in the glittering dark.

When my father finally stops, I beg for one more spin. “Hold on then,” he says and hurls me into orbit at the end of a loop of clothes line. The earth tilts and I lift off into the sparkling air, into a circle of light.

It is a moment of joy so alive inside me that sixty years later, I need only see a mother pulling a child on a sled and my mittened hands hold on tight.

Karen Anderson is a writer who lives and works in Traverse City, Michigan. She was a columnist for the Traverse City Record-Eagle for 30 years and published two collections.