Circling Home

 I'm lying in bed this morning, in the dark, thinking that whoever invented flannel sheets should have won a Nobel prize for human comfort in cold climates. (Dog comfort too, my terrier Phoebe has made a nice nest by the back of my knees.) I'm listening to the morning news, when a story comes on about a scientist doing experiments on people walking in straight lines. He takes them to a field, or a parking lot, blindfolds them, and says to walk in a straight line. No one can do it. Not one person. Everyone walks in circles. Then the scientist explains how he did  a bunch of tests on why people physically loop left or right. Is one leg shorter than the other? Are they left -handed or right-handed? Left-brained or right-brained? None of those things had anything to do with their inability to walk away from the starting point for more than about twenty feet before they turned back. The question I would have asked is not what the physical reason for this is, but the emotional one. The heart is made of muscle and spirit. That's why a good walk is as healthy for the soul as it is the body. Maybe our hearts are hard-wired to take us home. Maybe no matter how much we want to, or even how much we don't (all of the people in these tests swore they were walking in a straight line) we walk in circles around the place we began. Maybe we all want to come home. With any luck, when you get there, they'll be some flannel sheets on the bed.


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