Public Parking
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Perpetual Returning: Cycles End and Begin, and End Again
Wednesday, March 20, 2024 | Amy Fung

I had been thinking of cycles before consciously becoming aware of completing one. I turned 42 last Fall, which can be divided as six cycles of seven, or two cycles of 21, or 14 cycles of three, or any number of reversals. Throughout my 20s, I was borderline obsessed with my Saturn Return, which is when you complete four cycles of seven, a spiritually significant number through most of human history. Seven is a number that appears and reappears from the Sumerians’ seven-branches in the Tree of Life and the institutionalization of the seen day week to the seven heavens of the Qu’ran, and the Talmud to Hinduism to the seven virtues of Buddhism and the Catholic’s seven sacraments and seven sins, and so on. Music falls across seven major note scales (do rei me). The spectrum of refracted light is expressed in seven colours (roy g biv). From tip to tail, there are seven chakras from crown to root.

Seven is a cycle onto itself

Times six 

I can hear the chiming of distant tower bells

In astrological circles aka gay mathletes, your Saturn Return marks the cycle when Saturn, the ruler of discipline, returns to the same elliptical longitude of your birth time. In common terms, Saturn Return is the watershed between youth and adulthood, a period around 27 - 29 years of age marked by growing pains and existential angst. Doubling your Saturn Return is sometimes considered the age range when the mid-life crisis hits. 

I am now in the midway point between angst and crisis

I am neither too young or old to forge a new world

The last seven years culminating in 2023 was an intense personal cycle. It began with learning to be loved and ended with learning to grieve and let go. The cycle ended with my father’s passing, who I have not lived near since I was six years old, and who I had not seen in six years before his death. Coincidences are cycles composed of sequences and partitions of beginnings and ends, which when observed, tells me this moment has happened before and will happen again. 

It's hard to think or feel or speak of anything these past months other than of Gaza. The cycle of violence is on a high spin drive of complicit global powers, ineffective UN resolutions, conflating critiques of settler barbarism as antisemitism, return again and again as deformed perennials that cannot stop growing out of the mouths of Western political leaders and media. This, too, is a cycle of homogeny, of greed, and white supremacy. 

To help shape this year long editorial, I am thinking of the four quarters and seasons of time. I’ve sought out how others have been observing the passing of recent times. I even re-watched Kim Ki-duk’s Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter . . . and Spring after two nearly two decades. Rewatching films, similar to re-reading books, shows you who you were and what you have done in the interim. In the early aughts, I was a precocious undergraduate film studies student seeking out foreign films in the Edmonton Public Library. Presently I am once again back in school after years of writing cultural criticism and film programming in Vancouver and Toronto. Spanning twenty years, I remain enamored with the visuals of the film, but would offer a more gendered critique of women appearing only as objects of desire or tragic mother figures. Weighing heavy on my heart this time was the presence of innate cruelty and violence of humankind. The lesson I take away from re-encountering this film is that we cannot avoid hurting each other, but that we have to try to actively bear the burdens of those we hurt and take the time to drive out the anger in our hearts. This is not to dismiss horrors or encourage apathy. Rather, I want to keep going through the cycle, to re-watch this film again in nearly 20 years, and to reflect on how life must go on in the face of endless cruelty. Winter is not the end, but marks a period of dormancy and rest before life grows again.


The above text was written by Amy Fung, a writer currently based in Ottawa. You can learn more about her work at

Fung is currently an editorial resident with Public Parking. This is her first piece of a four-part creative exploration with our publication. Look out for her upcoming contributions. 

Cover image: still of Kim Ki-duk’s Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter . . . and Spring (2003)