Winter Solstice Walk on the Prairie Labyrinth

Prairie Labyrinth and bell

Signaling our intent

“O’er all the weary world” awoke me on this grey morning and the lead for the walk materialized. I was happy and excited about the day and knew we would have a fair number of participants in spite of the icy, gloomy day.  Before the program I opened the labyrinth with gratitude and joyfulness. I knew all would go well and adapted to the “curves” that came that morning.  All is well.

We centered on what made us weary this time of year.  Then, where we have hope.  Finally, what are our joys – small ones to large ones.  A cup of coffee.  A relationship. A small burst of beauty.

Metaphors abounded during this walk after we honored the seven directions of Solstice.  The north, the east, the south and the west.  That above.  The earth below.  Our center.

*  Each person chose when to enter the labyrinth.  As one man approached the entry and invited a woman to precede him, the bell fell off the rock with a jingle.  We laughed!  Guess it was his turn in spite of chivalry.

icy path


* Walking where no one else had trod felt safer underfoot, because there was less ice from compaction.  The crunchy snow served to remind us of all the “chatter” of the season that can distract us.  But, if we pay close attention we can hear certain messages. Conversely, where other footfalls have broken path, the snow was soft and feathery.  Easy and quiet to walk in. So, sometimes forge your own way…but be open to following in others’ footsteps.  No need to always “reinvent the wheel.”  We often kept our eyes down to help with a sense of safety.  One man reminded himself to “look up!” Near and far.  Near and far. We see where we are.

ice encrusted grasses

To pass you must leave something behind.

The icy grasses lodged across the path seemed a barrier to one pilgrim.  The voice inside said, you can pass, but you must lay something down.  On the return walk, the grasses gave way easily.  Lighten our load.  The ice only thinly coated the stalks and seed heads of the forbs.  A light breeze will craze the confining enamel.  So, perhaps we are just a slight shift away from breaking our enamel shells, too.

Blurred and in focus

Myopia and Hyperopia.

I kept this picture because the feather, which I wanted to focus on, is out of focus!  And, the grasses behind in focus.  So, sometimes we see far and other times near and yet can miss a lot. “Static visual in-acuity.”  We see but don’t.  Like when one woman mentioned “cross-quarter” times on the Astronomical calendar. I know Ground Hogs’ Day is mid-way through winter. Candlemass – the purification of the Virgin Mary.  But, I had not thought consciously of May Day, Lammas, the early Britain celebration of the wheat harvest, or Halloween all of which mark half way points between the change of seasons!  Talk about a big DUH!

When we arrived we heard shotgun blasts – hunting season.  Another man thought of his dog he had just put down because of incurable illness. Sadness enveloped him on his walk to the Center.  But, then he chose to remember their good walks. Even though choking up as he shared, he felt better remembering with joy his long time companion.


Standing in silence while we wait for the entire group to arrive.

Once there, we all stood in silence.  I read Sandi Ohlen’s poem.  We continued in silence and one-by-one made our way out.  With lighter step, planting feathers along the way we left our “weariness” behind.

Sharing a light moment

Enjoying a warm beverage

The sharing back at the Center flowed gently and easily as I left time and space for people to talk as they wished.  And, they did.

After, I closed the space of the Prairie Labyrinth and headed home.  Satisfied that people received what they came for and that I had served well what I was to do.

And, this morning I awoke with this line from It Came Upon A Midnight Clear “The world in solemn stillness lay.”  So it is.

About marionpatterson

From the Heartland: Marion is a master educator, writer, Veriditas Trained and Certified Labyrinth Facilitator, a member of the Veriditas Council, creator and workshop promoter, and environmental educator. A Holy Fire II Usui and Holy Fire II Karuna Reiki Master Teacher, Healing Touch Spiritual Ministries Certified Practitioner (HTSM-CP), Advanced Integrated Energy Therapy practitioner she seeks to connect with others in their knowledge and spiritual quests. She leads Healing Talking Circles using the principles embraced by indigenous populations and in Restorative Justice Circles. She and her husband, Rich, co-own Winding Pathways LLC and live in Eastern Iowa. "Encouraging people to create wondrous yards." Go outside and Play!
This entry was posted in Bell, Feathers, Indian Creek Nature Center, Labyrinth, Prairie Labyrinth, prairie plants, Rocks, Snow, Tracks, Winter. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Winter Solstice Walk on the Prairie Labyrinth

  1. Jeff Brown says:

    Nice to read your entry about Winter Solstice, Marion. I took a walk up the Old Leesburg Stage road today from my house. Ca. two miles from 4200′ to 4,600′. Not nearly as much snow or grass here, east central Idaho 10 mi. from the Divide, the Beaverhead Range and Montana. Hiking up the hill….I was reminded of the time you, Rich, our friend the nutritionist and I made an assault on Coronado Heights with climbing ropes & ladders. Coupla years ago(!).

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