WalkingFinding the Labyrinth

Last weekend, my son’s UU religious education (RE) class learned about labyrinths, which many UUs and people of other belief systems use both metaphorically and as a spiritual practice. The assistant RE directed noted that another local church has two labyrinths in the woods on their retreat property, Rolling Ridge.

So we took a ride over there yesterday afternoon to walk the labyrinths and, perhaps, meditate while on our path. (Okay, with my kids, meditation — in the silent, pensive, inward-looking sense of the word — was but a pipe dream.)

It occurred to me only after I parked the car that it’s winter in New England. We still have snow on the ground. A labyrinth is, in fact, a path. On the ground. And therefore under the snow. Suddenly I was reminded of last winter when we (and when I say “we,” I mean “I”) decided it would be fun to finally try letterboxing with the kids. In the snow and 20-degree weather. It was not fun, nor, as you might expect, did we find the boxes. We did learn something that day, however: walking around in the woods, looking for something someone else has left there, on an Arctic-cold, overcast day does little to bring about family peace or unity.

Walking the labyrinth

See the curved path outlined by the rocks?

Given that I’ve made the same mistake two years in a row, I must be in some sort of deep, soul-level denial about winter. Either that, or I’m just incapable of learning from past experiences. The jury is still out.

Anyway, luckily, we don’t have all that much snow left, and the labyrinths were somewhat visible because they’re marked with logs and large stones. If you looked closely, you could see the curved patterns in the snow, but you couldn’t see for certain the specific path laid out. So we did the best we could to follow the intended labyrinth paths, but I’m sure we’ll have better luck once the snow melts.

Sometime in June.

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  1. Not June Cleaver said,

    March 4, 2008 @ 5:42 pm

    Too funny! We have tried using a labyrinth as part of our boys club solstice/equinox celebrations. It’s a nice tradition. We weren’t able to do it in December because of the weather (rain, not snow). I was laughing at your picture of trying to follow the invisible path. We’re going to try a different one this month (March 20). The kids think it is fun, but the meditation thing? Not so much.

  2. lori said,

    March 4, 2008 @ 8:52 pm

    I honestly couldn’t believe I didn’t think about the snow until we got there! Duh!

    Even though it would have been better to have really been able to walk the labyrinths, we did have fun just poking around in the woods. It was windy and overcast, but it’s been a while since we “hiked” and picked up rocks and sticks and threw them around.

    So we’ll try the labyrinths another, warmer day. The good news is that it’s pouring like crazy right now and a lot of the remaining snow is melting.

  3. piscesgrrl said,

    March 13, 2008 @ 12:28 pm

    The best plans, eh? I tend to initiate a lot of activities, too, where I display a distinct lack of forethought and preparation. I like to think of myself as spontaneous! Sounds better than disorganized and unable to think critically in the face of overwhelmingly obvious facts.

    I ADORE labyrinths and actually have hopes of building one on my land. I have the space, just need to figure out how to get the materials donated. Oh, and the labor, though I might be able to rustle that up barn-raising-style. Wouldn’t that make a fun weekend workshop project?

    There are two large labyrinths where my women’s group retreats, one indoor, one out. We spend a lot of time in them.

    As for kids and meditating? They have their own special way of communing and meditating - I find their boisterousness refreshing and eye-opening!

  4. Susan said,

    March 26, 2008 @ 1:20 pm

    Hey Lori! Great to meet you last night! Small small world, I used to be the camp nurse at Rolling Ridge way back in another life time. I wonder if you attend the UU church in North Andover? My sister, Barbara was a member until she moved to Marlborough. My former brother and sister in law, Rodney and Kristen Hollenbeck used to have a LOT to do with Rolling Ridge. Since I have not been a part of that family for more than a decade I don’t know if they still are. Anyhoo. . . small small world. LOVE your blog btw.

  5. lori said,

    March 26, 2008 @ 2:47 pm

    Small world, indeed! Yes, we attend the UU church in North Andover. And how funny that you worked at Rolling Ridge! Thanks for checking out my blog.

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