High Summer. Mid Summer Night’s Dream. Lammas – first harvest. Change Over. Stillness in the morning. Quiet calls at night.
Thirteen pilgrims met on this mild August night to celebrate the fullness of summer, the half-way point between the summer solstice and the autumnal equinox, and acknowledge the source of our rich Iowa harvest. Experience the experience I encouraged.
Kathy Davis presented a fitting and unusual perspective on harvest. Certainly, gathering first fruits of Lammas is obvious. But she skillfully reminded us that in Iowa, we also harvest knowledge. And August is the time we begin the transition from summer to fall. Garden produce comes into fullness. Stores reveal their rich supply of goods ready for school age and college bound students to gather, sort and store for the upcoming academic year. Within a few months this harvest will begin to reveal its rewards with new information being processed, filed and retrieved. Indeed law students have just tested for “the bar.” Many will pass. Knowledge processed and retrieved. Now to apply in the emerging lawyers’ positions. Experience the experience.
Earlier I had opened the labyrinth by walking it and sending energy in a clockwise manner. When we arrived, we invited walkers to approach the labyrinth with appreciation and share as they wished. Quietly each began to walk. Kathy led an excellent pace, given that we were accompanied by mosquitoes. Why DO Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears? (Title of an African folk tale). While faster than she would have liked, it was right for tonight.
What I noticed and people shared:
KR, an accomplished photographer who attended the opening of the Nature Center’s photography display, accepted the challenge to walk with others. A huge metaphorical step. He was without his “good” camera but managed to take an incredible shot with his cell phone camera of the setting sun backlighting the prairie grasses. Experience the experience.
WA, long time member and highly functional man with some mental disability who is recovering from cancer treatment managed the rough ground well. He also has mellowed over the years. He added much to this walk. Perspective. Humor. Frankness. Patience and kindness for us all. Opportunity for us to help and normalize situations. For example, because of prostate problems he has to urinate frequently. Rich once told him on a walk that the group would just continue on and he could “pee” in the bushes. A new and uncomfortable experience for him. But he “rose to the occasion.” So, this night, he mentioned his need to me, and normalizing the situation, I replied as Rich had. We moved on around the corner of the trail. WA did his thing and joined us.
Birdwalk: I recall our first walk at Indian Creek – a hot and very buggy August night in 1978. Rich introduced himself saying we were recently up from Kansas. Then off the group went. I have always been the “sweep” making sure all were with us – the teacher, counselor, mom and “cleverly disguised as a responsible adult” in me. Wayne started chatting as he is wont to do and asked where I was from. I replied, “Well, we just moved up from Kansas.” A pause, then: “That’s funny, the man up there just moved from Kansas, too. Do you know him?”
Back to Lammas walk 2014: WA noticed the beautiful clouds like “Old Faithful Geyser.” He also knew how much daylight and in what ratio we had lost daylight since the solstice! Even I, who study meteorology knew only approximations. Well done WA! Experience the experience.
KCS texted about delays to which I replied, “Just come. You know the way.” She arrived and settled well given the frenetic pace she lives with her family and the trauma the pet cat, thus she, had experienced earlier in the week. The theme running though her mind came from a country western song, “Hold On.” The featured image reflects what she came away with. Lots of things in her life, just hold on for now. It’ll pass. Experience the experience.
Two men walked. At the exit one casually tossed the feather into the air where it landed in the grasses. They hugged after. Very tender as they gazed off to the uplands. Experience the experience.
Two women came – one dressed for being outside and one in shorts, tank top and light shoes. The first woman walked and liked the walk. The second woman chose not to walk. Later her friend who walked said, “It’s not her thing.” Experience the experience.
Some pilgrims kept thoughts to themselves. That is all right. Experience the experience.
TP with whom I have worked before and who is a talented architect with varied interests, including dowsing, was the first to sign up for the walk. Love it when she comes and we talk. She has grown in confidence and always I learn from her. Experience the experience.
AA and MA came again and I am so happy. To have them come regularly is always a treat for me. AA has previously shared that even though she may not feel much during a walk, she has noticed that the week following she feels lighter. So, that may be her gift from the labyrinth. This time, I picked up what she experienced. She followed one of the men into the labyrinth. He moved at a slower pace than she wanted. As she crept up on him she impatiently wanted him to go faster then she wanted to “pass.” At the start, I had explained that is OK and how to manage this politely. During the walk I looked over and felt anxiety then thought, “She is going to pass.” Suddenly my anxiety dissipated and my attention returned to “holding ” the space. AA shared that she was initially irritated by the other pilgrim’s “slow pace” was about to pass and suddenly realized there is no hurry. Then she settled into a comfortable walk appreciating the beauty of the prairie and her more centered self. Experience the experience.
Her husband MA just smiles when she talks.
I followed all in. Normally I would stay at the entrance. Our plan was to share some thoughts with the group. The tall grasses kept us from seeing each other and communicating silently. Also, we are short! In the center Kathy did a short reading, I said a few words and led out. After we were all out, we chatted, closed the space and began to leave.
Kathy chose to walk the labyrinth again on her own and joyfully stood on Center Stone arms wide open. She exclaimed how vibrant the labyrinth was and how happy she was to be there. Experience the experience.
For my part, questioning seems to be my companion. Am I facilitating ‘right’? Are people getting what they need from the walk? Is my demeanor calm? What message is here for me? How else can I meaningfully share about labyrinths? Experience the experience, Mrs. Patterson. Just be present.
A few people joined me at the house for quiet conversation which was a just right end note to the evening. Experience the experience.