Clear. Crisp. Alpine glow just touching the tops of trees. Still. Snow clinging to trees, shrubs, wires. The encrusted bell sounded a dull thunk, until I brushed off the snow, then a hollow gong. Sort of how I felt initially. But, the Regis Labyrinth message with the stone like a shoe is to keep moving forward. Not the callous sounding, “move on” we frequently hear. The semantic difference for me that the latter is often used impatiently to tell those in a difficult place to “get over it.” But, that hardly addresses healing. To keep “moving forward” as in Emma’s Revolution song calls to stop, grieve, consider the situation, and trust that one can find a way to discover and generate positives from difficult situations. That takes an awful lot of courage. And, what was it The Reverend Tom Capo said of hope and optimism? “Optimism may be the ability to keep on in spite of of the lack of discernible change.” So, we choose.
The way was hard. Blowing snow had packed densely when it met resistance of plants or a rock. Breaking through was work and snow over-topped my boots slipping to my socks, melting and making my feet cold. Then, I’d step into a part of the path that was easier. Snow softer and only a couple of inches deep. Suddenly, I would be lost because in the faint dawn light all was duo-chromatic: Blue-white and bark-grey. The path was unclear, so I had to rely on past experience and – get this FAITH! that I would find the way! You go girl! The markers were more faint, but there. And then, with a pause was unexpected beauty peeking out from under the snow.
When we least expect it, we are blessed with beauty. I remember one winter when the Crown of Thorns shared its delicate blooms in midwinter, cheering my day and offering hope. So the sprig of evergreen and the colorful holiday ball caught my eye and a smile took over the work.
Just as quickly, reality set in. For though the storm has beauty, there is a cost. There under the magnolia tree were several large boughs torn down by snow and wind. Some of the boughs were dead, so natural pruning was at work. But, the sight of the promise of the future in the buds on the remaining sections of the boughs caught in my heart. Much like the tragedies in Connecticut, Virginia Tech, Columbine, the Shopping Malls and movie theatre, UK, Norway, September 11, Oklahoma….on and on. So, what to do? I left the boughs there for now in remembrance. I looked up and saw the alpine glow on the firs high above and later the eagle totems winging overhead. Life is life. The world is not so much “a terrible place” as a friend despaired, but certainly terrible events happen. Like the other pebble at the Regis Labyrinth – though fractured, inside is a quality that may be the strength, commitment, compassion that we need to forge ahead with a more peaceful world. One where we all work to better understand and allow our actions to move us in that direction. I’ll come back another day and prune, trim the ragged edges and lovingly move the fallen boughs. And, the magnolia tree come spring will begin to heal from the inside out. The scar will always be there, but, new growth will inspire and delight and the magnolia tree will remind us of life – all of it.
I left with lighter step and rang the bell which now resonated with clear and deep certainty. The message from the Solon-Schwab labyrinth seemed reflected in the icicles and branch in this picture and echoed in my mind: “Bend into the direction of the unbalance.”