What a day! A curious gathering of pilgrims eager to learn more about labyrinths met at Indian Creek Nature Center on the 14th – Bastille Day in France! After a brief overview and orientation, we migrated to the Prairie Labyrinth. A bright sun aroused the insects and birds sang and winged overhead. On came the sun screen.
From the beginning, the group revealed its spirit. While different from what I initially envisioned, the feel was just right for us and reminded me of the children’s approach to labyrinth walking – engagement, interest, and fun.
Then, off to the 1080 Laughing Labyrinth where I shared some of the background and watched as people discovered unusual objects, sat on one of the benches, and took notes. Pilgrims quickly realized that each labyrinth has a personality and structure. I wondered how they would react to the more formal presentations of labyrinths as our tour progressed. Keeping a mindful eye to the sky and ear to sound as cloud cover slipped in from the northwest, we headed out to stop three.
Regis Middle School’s knoll-top labyrinth dedicated to the memory of Jim Sells caught them by surprise. Tucked away yet in the open and surrounded by plants and with a view to the City, the pilgrims jumped right in, walking, looking, pausing at the stones with words engraved on them. Then, they read the inscription: “Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while and leave footprints on our heart and we are never the same.” Although we didn’t talk much, the group seemed to reflect on personal experiences. I could “see” their wheels turning as they compared this charming seven-circuit experience with the first two. Sky darkening in the northwest and sprinkles as we headed to Unity. A few people had reached their “witching hour” and had to leave but were enthused and eager to get to the other labyrinths and to return to the ones they had walked.
Rain began in earnest as we navigated Center Point Road and Blairs Ferry. Unity’s labyrinth designed by Lynda Black-Smith, is one of the most impressive in the area. Painted on a corner of the parking lot, the labyrinth none-the-less is inviting. Janith had a table with mementos in the six petaled center. Each petal represents the elements in ascending order and Janith explained that some people gravitate to the element they most identify with. Unity held a summer Solstice walk last month while we were away and I was sorry to have missed it. Well, we quickly walked the labyrinth as a warm rain fell, helped Janith put the table and mementos in the car, thanked her, and this”Yes, we are game” group left for our last stop.
Prairiewoods with its vibrant entry, dynamic prairie and guardian pines and oaks is so inviting. I’ve visited in all seasons and different weather and each time is a new experience. This was the first time in the rain and suddenly, the “childlike” spirit of this group returned. Al leaped into the air and Katie kicked off her shoes. Then, they were off! The air had cooled down, thunder rumbled more in the distance and the rain was serious. How smart was Heidi to bring her umbrella? Mine? I took it out of the car today! Serves me right. Someone quipped, “Instead of speed dating, we are speed labyrinthing.” Completing the tour!
The day was excellent. The group dynamic. Each labyrinth welcomed us and shared its personalities with us. And, I have found that each labyrinth has many permutations depending on who is walking. And, the pilgrims fully understand that depending on the other people they would walk in the spirit of the group. Thank you, all.