by Andy Wachter
On a beautiful day in San Francisco, I was blessed with a wonderful gift. I spent two hours as a nanny for Drina, a friend’s three year old daughter. My friend and I are in a women’s circle together.
I took over nanny responsibilities right in Golden Gate Park next to the carousel. So, even though the person who took care of her right before I did, took Drina on the carousel three times, since Drina wanted to go again, even asking for five more times, I agreed to three. On the first ride she climbed onto the lion, for the second the camel and then the rabbit. She was totally into it and it was great fun to experience the carousel with her and through her eyes. A circle experience-no wonder we enjoy it so much.
After the carousel, Drina convinced me that she was hungry and needed a lavender “pushup,” a cylinder shaped ice cream pop. While we sat on the meadow watching a rainbow kite being brought home and she ate her “pushup,” she asked if we could go to my home.
I asked what she would like to do there. She said, in a sweetly, softened, sacred voice with her dark eyes wide open, “Could we have our own women’s circle?” I was astounded and my heart, core and eyes filled with gratitude. The women’s circle was an experience she wanted more of and I was so incredibly touched by her speaking of it so sweetly. It was clearly very important to her. Her earlier participation in gatherings of our women’s circle had been at my home and she associated that place with women’s circle-how lovely.
I could hardly wait to get home and do what she wanted to do in circle. We walked in to my home and Drina immediately noticed old and bedraggled Raggedy Ann, a tired looking Winnie-the-Pooh and a small, cute stuffed giraffe that were my daughter Beth’s favorites. She wanted to play with those toys and we did not have “our own women’s circle.” I would have to wait for another “nanny” time to find out what this wonderful little girl wants to do for “our own women’s circle.”
Within a few weeks I had a second chance. I was “nanny” for Drina for a very busy half day. After having breakfast on the patio, we spent some time in the garden preparing pots to plant herbs and vegetables. Then we headed out to the Conservatory to visit their special butterfly exhibit. Butterflies flew all around us and tickled Drina’s shoulder. After a while Drina asked to go home so we could have “our own women’s circle.”
When we got home Drina and I gathered in the living room. I asked her what she wanted to do and she started by asking for an instrument. She selected a tambourine. We welcomed the spirits of the directions and the elements. Then Drina wanted to “do the smoke thing.” We saged each other with great care. Drina wanted to sing while we drummed, which we did. While holding a talking stick, we each checked in and then we realized we had to dash out to meet Drina’s Mom. We quickly said “thank you” to the directions and the elements, closed circle and headed out to meet Drina’s Mom.
It was so wonderful to experience circle through the eyes of a four year old girl. She was very excited during the entire process and also very comfortable and really loving it. It was clear that this was a very special event for her. It was for me too. How sacred our circle time is-set apart from all else in our daily schedules-and a time for gathering with a unique focus. I look forward to more special circles with Drina, this delightful girl. She helps me see the wonder of circles!