I’m running laps around the pond at the park and on the water all the ducks are swimming in one perfect line, one after the other, against the early Saturday morning sky, cloudy and gray.

I’m running mostly for the exercise but also because I’m confused— there have been all the travails of the weeks before yet in the end something unknown steps in and messes up everything, then Cybill flies off to parts unknown, or way-too-known, taking the obvious apple with her for the holiday and god only knows what happens when she gets back and Cindy herself goes back to her boyfriend who’s lost weight or something and then for what seems like the thousandth of times but it’s actually only the second Tess calls in shortly before we go out to dinner and says she’s down with the flu, leaving me alone staring at the South African Pinotage I’d bought especially for the occasion even though that was kind of cheap from my own part if you think about it but I wasn’t really too keen on dishing out too much money on wine anyway because it was mostly for when we’d come back to my place after the dinner, which would have been at some fancy pricey place already and I’d half-expect for her too be a little buzzed by then anyhow.

So no matter what I do I just seem to run in circles unable to veer off some great terrifying Karmic wheel and even when I do my best and actually break free I end up at an entirely another cycle just to fall back on the usual tracks, stepping up from a zero to this number eight lying down, the snake eating up its own tail.

When I was a kid, Mandalas scared me witless: I couldn’t bear to see one on a carpet or on a tapestry or tattooed on somebody’s arm. And now I think I know why— yet these ducks here at the park if you think about it, they swim yonder in this one perfect straight line, like an arrow skipping over the water, not only going somewhere but getting there.