From the East Coast to the deep South to Alaska and Hawaii, 2019 has been a year of Labyrinths.
March saw us leaving the dreary, flooded Midwest and heading for the deep South. Which itself was flooded! We skirted the Mississippi River, managed to find a few mounds of the Mound Builders, visited Forestry Supply in Jackson, Mississippi, and camped at a lovely lake as the sun set. I checked in at Solomon Center in Loranger, Louisiana, for Veriditas Council’s Renewal Day 2019. Then, Rich was off for bayou adventures which included a mocassin curled up on the boardwalk near his B n B. Meanwhile I basked in the comfort of the Center and numerous labyrinths to walk and create.
The May Hawaii adventures were unparalleled. On the Southside Kauai, near Poipu, a bouncy drive on an increasingly rutted road gave us pause. But, we were following the directions and picked up a few confirming markers. So, we pushed on. I was confident finding the labyrinth in part because I had talked by phone with the creator of it. Paul Vlach splits time between Hawaii and his home on the west coast. He gave specific directions and the World Labyrinth Locator directions matched his descriptions pretty much.
Past abandoned sugar cane land, around a muddy turn we found ourselves in a small, sandy parking lot full of trucks and cars. Down on the beach were dozens of families. Local folks who knew how stunning and charming the area is.
We locked up the car and, again, following the few confirmation markers on the description, began to walk a path along the ocean. Past steep dropoffs, over rocks, pausing at a blowhole. Then, just as we were thinking, “This isn’t right,” we stepped into an opening. The feeling changed to a lovely, calm and sacred quietude. The walk was worth it. We spent time in the labyrinth, enjoying the scenery, rocks and the ocean waves. Bob has an excellent blog about the many labyrinths he has constructed. Take a look at this pdf.
Under Bob’s guidance, we also helped build a charming labyrinth in Kilauea, Kauai, Hawaii. Christ Memorial Episcopal Church.
June and July found us East. Of course, I walked the charming labyrinth on the north end of Cedar Lake in Denville. Bianca, the owner, and her friend were busily cleaning up after a wet spring. Another day when we all languished in the heat, I contacted Colleen who lives a short distance from The Lake. She welcomed me to her well-tended labyrinths – one built over a former swimming pool area and a pretty little spiral in another part of the yard. We exchanged deep thoughts as though we had known each other for years. What an honor to offer an impromptu Reiki session for her.
Multiple Labyrinth Walks in One Day
Off to Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Under a blistering sun and in wilting humidity cousin, Paula, and I ventured forth to labyrinths in the area. One family boasted two labyrinths. A compact and delightful seven circuit and a larger mowed eleven circuit in the back field.
Later, it took some doing and lots of “well, let’s see” driving down winding roads to discover the next labyrinth with Rich. Set on a hill rose a well-tended farmhouse. Turns out the structure spans four centuries! Originally built in the 1700s as a modest cabin, it was expanded to accommodate a growing family in the 1800s. Everything needs updating so in the 1900s the house was spruced up and added onto. Then, in the early 2000s lovely extra rooms with 21st Century appliances and fixtures completed the home. The family that welcomed us were gracious hosts and delightful company.
Perhaps the most settling of the labyrinths on this trip was at the Hospice of the Panhandle. After engaging with folks at a reunion, I drove there alone. A quiet, bubbling waterfall soothed the soul and seemed to cool the sun’s fierce heat.
Return Again, Return to the Land of Your Soul
Mid-Autumn found us back in NJ and the opportunities to connect with the North Cedar Lake labyrinth and discover a new one – the Parsippany Wellness Organization. Good thing a cousin guided to the location. “Turn off Knoll Road onto Knoll Drive at Knoll Country Club Park. Once on Knoll Drive look for a sign that reads Lenni Lenape picnic area Labyrinth site.” The little road wound around and seemed unlikely. Then, there it was tucked into a corner of a parking lot. Again, I am no fan of labyrinths built on parking lots because I find the two uses incompatible. And, I will say, the experience was satisfying. So, there is some sacredness to that location that supersedes the current use.
On our summer return toward Iowa, we found a potentially lovely labyrinth near the walking trail at Allegheny College of Maryland. As always, structures need maintenance. Recent rains had toppled nearby branches and trees, so navigating the path to the labyrinth was tricky. And, the labyrinth simply needed some love. A little bit would help rejuvenate the labyrinth which is near the extensive walking path.
A surprise labyrinth in Wooster, Ohio, at the Unitarian Universalist church, completed labyrinth experiences on our trip. The grounds are beautiful. A winding, shaded drive cooled us off. (This was an incredibly hot trip the whole way!) The parking lots were sectioned off and trees shaded the parking spaces. The labyrinth is set off to one side of one of the lots. While I am not a fan of combining parking of cars with the contemplative nature of labyrinths, this one works.
Just after Labor Day, we lifted off to Anchorage, the Kenai Peninsula, and the Matanuska Valley. The boat and glacier tours were spectacular. Time with family, fun and productive. The meals they prepare from foraged and harvested fruits, fish, and game wonderful.
In spite of best efforts, a trip to Homer, AK, to see the labyrinth didn’t work out. One of the sweetest labyrinths is at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church on Tudor Road. It sits above a busy road yet is private. Surrounded by trees and well-tended shrubs the labyrinth has a sense of peace and calm.
Aawesome Retreat on the way to Turnagain Arm and the Peninsula houses a labyrinth that needed some love. In places the grass was tall and uninviting to walk through, dogs had left their calling cards, some stones had been knocked into the path. The most puzzling aspect was the presence of rusted objects like an old typewriter and a milk jug with bullet holes in it. The dissonance of these objects was unsettling. Too bad, because the view is indeed, “aawesome.” As someone who knows Alaska stated, “That’s Alaska.”
The Palmer, AK, labyrinth was closed to the public. The creator, whom I contacted later, was distressed and said she would find out the story. We did enjoy the Musk Ox Farm, though.
Como Zoo, Saint Paul, MN, Coralville, and Kalona, IA
Such a sweet ending to travels for the year. A cousin’s wedding in November and a hint of a labyrinth on the grounds of the Como Zoo and Park. So, the next day, under cold and drippy skies we found an incredible labyrinth with a unique design. The path wound irregularly back and forth so discerning placement was hard. So, I didn’t. I just walked. It was lovely.
As usual all year and every day we were home I walked the Phoenix Harmony Labyrinth in our yard. From the polar Vortex days of -30 degrees to the oppressive heat and humidity of July, from rain and fog to star-studded nights I walked. And, over time I found I did not need a specific intention beyond simply grounding and walking. I came to recognize when I needed to stop doing “whatever” I was doing, get up, put on a jacket and shoes and “Go Outside and Play!”
Groups came to walk in different seasons. And, Michael M from the Twin Cities called and stopped by one June day. We had a great talk like I had with Colleen in NJ. Now the solar lights twinkle quietly as winter’s dark descends. They’ll stay out for a while – probably until spring when I retrieve them.
Around town, I walked the Bottleworks labyrinth each month when at the Shaman Class. Introducing it to other class members was rewarding. Regis labyrinth calls me from time to time, as does Prairiewoods.
Well, now 2019 is over. And, we look to 2020 adventures. Solvitur Ambulando.