The Constant of Pi


Pi Day, according to The Guardian, is “…an annual date of celebration in the mathematical community because March 14, or 3/14, using the US convention of dates, looks like 3.14, which is pi to two decimal points. Pi is a mathematical constant, the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. The value is always the same for any circle.

For someone like me, who has a severe math and science disability, there is something oddly comforting in the imagery of pi, even if I don’t totally understand it. Pi is constant. Pi’s value is constant. Pi defines a circle’s circumference, which has no edges. A circle is strong and difficult to break.

We humans tend to gravitate toward circles because they often represent calm, peace, and safety, while sharp, angular shapes can manifest anxiety and fear. Think of all the circles we have embraced throughout history: Stonehenge, King Arthur’s Round Table, labyrinths, fairy rings, prayer circles, wedding rings, sports stadiums, and mysterious crop circles. Even our DNA is a series of interlocked circles, those building blocks that tell us who we are and where we’ve come from. Circles represent infinity, a defense against all the chaos the world throws at us. When someone we love is hurting, we circle the wagons. When we link arms, we are stronger.

When I think of the circles in my own life, I am reminded of how we all are connected. Sometimes our circles intersect, uniting us through marriages, babies, friendships, and even divorces. Every time we enter or create a circle, we forge a connection, which then becomes part of our journeys. Our bonds are our stories, even if they are cracked or fractured. I will forever be connected to my ex-husband and his family’s circle through our sons’ circles. We have a shared history, making our lives one big interwoven patchwork-like Venn diagram: deeply complicated and ultimately beautiful in its uniqueness.

On this particular Pi Day, I baked a lemon chess pie to bring to my book club circle, this group of women who gather every week to discuss love, spirituality, and the deep questions of life. I’d love to send pies to all my circles, warm them with layers of buttery crusts and rich fillings, to remind them of our connections and how they are a constant in my sojourn through this life.

“Life is a full circle, widening until it joins the circle motions of the infinite.” - Anais Nin