Snow pellets stung like needles as the wind hurled the early spring blizzard at us. Thirty-five mile an hour winds and temperatures hovering in the low 30s – not cold yet dangerous because of the ice it forms on roads, trees, buildings, and ground. Hard to tell how deep the snow was because it was heavy and compacted by the winds.
So, I stood a bit, tightened my collar, and decided to plunge ahead and was surprised as I “postholed” over the berm and into the Harmony Phoenix Labyrinth. Snow cascaded into my pack boots. Hmmm. Not so much harmony today. Yet, maybe so. It will depend on how I look at it. This is what I teach at Kirkwood with adults re-imaging their lives. Life is 10% experience and 90% reaction or response.
The labyrinth is familiar, after all, friends and I created it a year ago and I’ve walked it regularly and daily since mid-December 2017. In the pre-dawn light shadows were muted and forms erased and so I decided to walk differently.
Some landmarks poked through the snow, and the stalks of burned off prairie forbs stood in contrast to the snow. Looking at the overall shape, I began, pacing the steps, and noting the nose of the colorfully painted lizard from Texas that indicates the first turn. Then, I followed the easy, gentle sweep of the right-hand half of the Harmony Labyrinth to the far side. The limestone blocks humped with snow formed a natural barrier and I knew when to turn, following the unbroken carpet of snow again in an easy gentle sweep back toward the beginning. Now around by the birdbath heaped with mounds of packed snow.
Past the NW rock – buried but had to be there – and by Tapia. Tapia is a metal statue a welder friend made and brought one day when our son, Dan, was little. So, we named the statue in our friend’s honor and Tapia has lived at two homes now for 38 years.
Sparkly Rock, Wisconsin Rock and turn left. Those were easy because, in spite of the snow depth, they stand out.
The inner circles were more challenging and I had to just trust the easy, gentle sweep of the arc. Noting the sundial covered with snow I knew I was close.
Then, I found myself greeting the little child statue that points to our Bur Oak and is the greeter to the entrance. So, I walked around the tree twice making a nice circle then, stepped left out of the center and around the easy, gentle sweep of the other half of the Harmony Labyrinth. Up by Second Bench I paused and crushed some Virginia Mountain Mint seeds in my bare fingers taking in the wonderful aroma of mint. Amazing! The seed heads and stalks maintain their distinctive smell all winter until the new leaves and shoots break ground.
Second bench. What a funny thing. People would wonder. There is only one bench so….The story is simply that I had two benches when the Labyrinth was a seven circuit and an ancient, magnificent Magnolia tree graced the center. First Bench went in first. Second Bench second. The re-design took out First Bench. And, I simply kept the name.
Even without snow I sometimes get off the path as I move from the outer circuit to the next in. I am never sure why this confuses me sometimes. But, I knew I was on the right circuit when I stumbled in the dip created by the heavy truck that removed the Magnolia tree and then I found myself back and on the other side of the limestone barrier.
Then, the turn to “home.” Past the compass that points to the North Star, down the dual entry to the bell.
A pause. A nod to the day. A ringing of the bell. Then, inside for hot chocolate.