2020 The Great Pause
Unlike other years when we have traveled and walked labyrinths along the way, in 2020 we have pretty much stayed at home. Like the rest of the world. That’s OK. We found calm, solace, and yes, even joy.
Remembering day-to-day, when so much seems the same is a challenge, and I can only remember walking a few labyrinths this year. A friend recently termed it “Blursday.”
Except for the Phoenix Harmony Labyrinth in our front yard. That, I have continued to walk every day. And, I am ending my third or fourth year doing so. Indeed a “Blursday” thing. How long HAVE I done this? More on the daily walking later. First, some labyrinths I have been involved with.
Great Plans Gone Astray
It seems that photos mysteriously disappear when I think I have placed them carefully on the computer. Ha! So, the photos of the walks at Westminster Presbyterian in Waterloo, Iowa, that I took in preparation for a March dedication are, like so many other things in 2020 – gone! Poof! The memory is sweet. I’d worked with a team there and colleagues and friends here to create a lovely workshop. We planned to acquaint the larger congregation with labyrinths through music, movement, spiritual readings, and art. By weaving in multiple modalities, we believed people would more readily use the labyrinth on their own and in groups from children to adults in religious education, special interests, and incorporate in formal church services.
The pandemic changed everything. I hope the ceremony happened at some time during the year. There’s been no communication from the church since the program was canceled in early March. May they all be well.
Years ago, Mary H. and I worked together in Lamaze Classes. And, even though our paths diverged, we stayed loosely connected over the years. One day Mary and I visited by distance and she shared about a labyrinth at St. Paul’s Methodist Church on Third Ave SE. What a find! It is beautiful! And, what a treat it will be to walk when the pandemic ends.
From Destruction, A Creation of Healing
After the derecho that struck Iowa on August 10, 2020, a colleague, Edith Starr Chase, pursued creatively repurposing the downed trees and stumps to a labyrinth of natural materials. She found the right place at Wickiup Hill Learning Center. In September, three of us, wearing masks and keeping a distance, blessed the well-chosen site. Flat, surrounded by prairie and a lively marsh. Close to trails. Accessible. Near a parking lot yet, set aside for privacy. The county mowed the area and laid down woodchips. In October Edith and friends began measuring and placing stumps for a truly sublime labyrinth. At the entry stands a young guardian oak. A wide path opens to the tree-stump labyrinth. Walking it, pilgrims feel themselves releasing the trauma of the event, settling into the ground, resting and laying hands on stumps, recalling, restoring. Edith and her friends created a wonderful healing memorial. For the winter solstice, she planned a walk – one of many to come.
The Phoenix Harmony Labyrinth
We started the year with a mild winter’s day New Year’s Day Labyrinth Walk. Teri P. joined others walking for peace, tranquility, hope, and courage. Cold and snow hit later that week and the weather remained cold and snowy for several weeks. Each day, I strapped on snowshoes and crunched along the five-circuit dual entry labyrinth.
Practicing the Shamanic tradition, I often pause at each turn toward the Cardinal Points – East, South, West, North – Below to Mother Earth, Above to Father Sky, and Center – the emerging Bur Oak we planted a few years ago.
Mostly I walk with Gratitude. For all – those I care about, those I don’t know, those I disagree with, and those I do not like. Asking for kindness in my heart and blessings to all. It’s hard sometimes. Insights are important, too. So, it’s OK to let my mind wander a bit and wonder. Nature. Seasons. Love. Hate. What drives people. Thankfulness for our families and this home and property.
Each day is different. The angle of the sun, sprinklings of rain, fog, presence of insects and birds. Tracks and poop in the snow are telltale signs of night visitors. Sometimes I walk before dawn even in winter, looking back at the house’s gentle glow from windows and smoke wafting from the chimney. Other times about 6:40 a.m. a neighbor’s truck lumbers up the road. We exchange a friendly wave. Occasionally, on early winter and summer nights I walk. The solar lights guide my way in winter. By summer the glow of twilight keeps me on the path. A bat swoops. A coyote yips. Crickets sing. Trees creak stiffly. Stars and planets glow.
It’s all good. A discipline and a joy.