I just finished watching the final Harry Potter, and I felt a great amount of happiness at how the story had come full circle. Full circles are a funny and strange thing in life. An event in your life happens one time when you are young, then later you encounter a familiar feeling, place, or person that you somehow forgot about. As a military brat for 21 years of my life, I feel justified to say that this world is too small to carry in the palm of your hand.
Speaking of Harry Potter, in the “Deathly Hallows” there are many examples of this idea of full circles such as when Hagrid carries Harry; in the beginning book “The Philosopher Stone,” Hagrid carries a baby Harry toward the stoop of his aunt and uncle’s place; at the end of the book series, “The Deathly Hallows,” Hagrid carries a grown Harry towards Hogwarts, one that is presumed to be dead.
One example that I can think of in my own life, one that sometimes feels too fiction to be reality, is when I reunited a person that I remembered from my elementary days in Naples, Italy. This person that I met was a musician known for family music such as providing songs to Winnie the Pooh. A musician that is known for touring all over the world from school to school – public or DoDDs. The only problem was that I did not remember his name as a 10-year-old boy.
Fast forward 11 years later, I am living in Seoul, Korea. More specifically, outside the Army base Yongsan, located just north of the Han River and a few train rides away from the heart of Seoul. I had been volunteering as a librarian at the elementary school on base, a gig that I mustered up the energy to commit to. I was unemployed and felt that I needed a purpose that would be cemented as a “life experience.”
After a few months of volunteering at the American school, I had the opportunity to write a features article on a musician named Dan Crow. I had been writing a bit, finishing a novel in November for NaNoWriMo and freelancing articles for the Stars and Stripes Korea. I gained the opportunity through the librarian I assisted – a kind young lady that was good friends with this Dan Crow. When I looked at his flyer that advertised his concert, I realized that I was looking at the face I saw about a decade ago. It was the same musician known for his family songs, the one without a name all of these years.
When I went to his concert, he played the same songs that I heard when I was 10 years old. I sat with the row of children near the front, criss-cross style, looking up at amazement of his “humazoo,” an instrument that made humming noises. It was the same kind of humazoo that blared through the cafeteria of that modest Italian school.
After the concert, I approached Dan Crow. I interviewed him a bit, which eventually turned out to be a pure discussion on music from the past and present. I learned that he lived in the Appalachians as a young man; while living there, he learned how the true roots of folk, often participating in hootenannies to play his original songs. I even was able to pitch in some ideas of how I felt about music nowadays and some of my favorites in from the past – some Pet Sounds era Beach Boys, Scott Walker gone baroque, and early Paul Simon. The starstruck child in me felt equal with a musician with a history as rich as the natural landscape.
Our conversation lasted an hour or so, turning more into a discussion than an interview. I mentioned to him “Dan, it’s strange that I finally got to meet you after all these years. I saw you before yet I did not expect to encounter you again.” He agreed with me when I mentioned how humanizing the experience was.
And you know what? Full circles are a humanizing experience. They are everywhere: like the unexpected encounter of an old friend or the familiar feeling of being in a place like the library. Once you recognize them, the familiar feeling that you sense becomes an answer in your life. You realize that even though you are becoming older, there are ways to feel young again. It’s a magical return to the feeling that you felt when you first read your favorite book.