I loved feeling the soft hippopotamus on my cheek as I lay my head on him. Multi-colored like Biblical Joseph’s coat, it wasn’t gray like a real hippo—my stuffed one was every color. It was blue and green and red. As my tiny hand rested on my favorite red patch of fur, my soul slept with the red that complimented the blood circulating in my veins. Back then running in circles was fun, but not so much the older that I grew—that is until I unearthed the gem in circle-making.
Swirling around in the yard until the sky was a blur, I’d collapse into a pile of leaves. I’d pedal faster and faster around the vacant store lot until I’d wobble and crash, skinning my knees and scratching my bike. I drew circles, spinning the lead of my Spirograph’s colored pencils faster than my cat could shimmy a tree. I loved circles, but they didn’t always love me.
Decisions made my adult mind spin in a million orbits. What career would make me happy and still pay the bills? Where did I want to live and raise a family? How could I juggle my creative desires and my practical responsibilities?
I always seemed to be running in proverbial circles, often with no point of reference. Just spinning and wishing and making the same mistakes over and over in an endless maze until finally finding the glowing red exit sign that hovered above the labyrinth of choices. I took flight and looked down at all the crop circles created over time and realized that circles are an intricate part of the web of life.
From the changing seasons to the rotating planets to the swimming thoughts in my head—from birth to death, all life spins on a dime, and my axis need only tilt a bit to change my future. Like the seasons, each choice embodies its own hue. Red is the one I have learned to pay attention to.
Red is our exit to a new path—a new circle. Red is fire. It’s desire. Red is the flame that ignites creativity and drive. Red is the ruby shining brightly in the center coal inside our hearts. Red rekindles passion and pride. This magnetic color is the attention-getting fist bump to our gut that punches us until we are bent over in pain and wondering how we will ever stand erect again. Red stirs the sense of urgency and contracts our aortic valve until we birth our desires and spawn our legacy.
Red is the color of the canal we enter this world through and the lack of circulating red blood is how we take our exit. Red means stop at the red light, but in metaphysical terms, it means go. Go into the unknown. Part the Red Sea and fulfill your destiny.
Joseph’s coat of many colors was more than proof to his Father that he was dead. It was more than his protection from the cold. It was his way out of the comforts of home and onto the riches of the palace. Not because it had many colors, but because the blood running through his body beneath the coat had power and purpose. Find the power in your blood. Follow the ruby red pulse of your heart and feast like a king—even if that finds you creating your own circular path.
Michele Zirkle Marcum is a native of Meigs County, author of “Rain No Evil” and host of Life Speaks on AIR radio. Access more at soundcloud.com\lifespeaks.