Tonight is the initiation
of my backyard Labyrinth!
It is finally done!
And what will I do?
I will light twelve tiki foot torches
for my first official evening prayer walk!
Cause there was a discount
on sets of six
wish there was a more
mythically based reason
but there isn't...!
It has been a grueling journey
to make this lovely weaving
path of rocks in the North 40 of my yard!
I don't really have 40 acres
(where I could actually
use a horse to check fence lines)
but relatively speaking
my yard is large,
intimidatingly so, for the desert
endless inches of gravel
and rocks and
things that don't grow well
and things you don't want to grow
(Like scorpion weed, which
all I have to do is look at
and I am covered in wet welts!
When I moved here, ten years ago
my focus of designing
the barren space
that was my yard
became just the arch of my sight
from the kitchen window...
(hey, I had to start somewhere)
and it sort of worked
if I couldn't see the North 40
it wasn't really there
(ah, how we love denial!)
I planted and planted...
and made water features
and hauled in rocks
and more rocks
for the garden stations
of growing things.
Seems I OVER planted
and became OVERwhelmed
with my OVER growing green things
and was soon OVER it
and stayed in the house
or somewhere else..
I love labyrinths, having walked two!
One in Maui and the other Taos.
Both changed my path significantly.
Why not one of my own?
But was the North 40 big enough?
Maybe! If I was creative about it!
So I began my research!
A daunting amount
of information is available
on variations, designs, circuits,
history, material and resources.
The only thing I was clear about
was I wasn't purchasing anything!
This playground is 'operation free'...
that of course meant, ROCKS...
and most plentiful crop
(...so to speak.)
First of all what is a labyrinth?
It is a single path
or unicursal tool for personal,
and spiritual transformation.
A single pathway
to a central position,
which is only half the journey
as to return to the outside,
retrace the route back out.
It was relayed to me that
before entry the opening
one must have a question in mind...
take in, expect an answer and then
walk out with an illuminated mind.
Twice, I had that experience!
That magic in my own North 40...?
My own walking prayer circle!
Because I am not great
with measurements or calculations or
lay outs, nothing level or perfect
in my house or yard...
(ask any of my friends,
and they will agree uproariously.)
had to be something simple and more organic,
no complicated series of back and forths,
which I am sure I would have
got lost in, myself!
The book I ordered and followed,
had many examples of labyrinths
from all over the world...
which were stunning
and artistically beautiful,
hard to choose ...and begin!
With spray paint
I informally sketched a Chakra-vyuha,
or seven circuit seed pattern.
Had to do this twice...
as I got lost before I got started.
Then came the rocks!
100 and 100's
of rocks had to be collected,
to make the 13 foot wide path complete!
Not a hard task as I came to rock gathering
by a long heritage
of "born to be rock gatherers,"
my mom...my grandma
and great grandma even?
Every summer my mom had
us kids down at Lake Superior
collecting anything that was loose
and easy for us to retrieve and haul home!
We filled the yard,
made slopes, lined gardens
and complained about every one
that was rolled into place!
I hated rocks!
The family joke was that these rocks
positioned into place
never really had a home as they
were inevitably moved
the following summer
to another part of the yard...
much like the Greek character Syphus
who rolls the stone up the hill
just to find it rolling back down.
Year after year!
So, I love rocks now
and have spent my adult summers
doing the exact same thing,
(I know, I know, "the apple doesn't,...")
So in the building of this creation,
I begin to eye rocks
from my other "rock areas"
repositioning them in the labyrinth line
dismantling gardens and steps
just to reach my goal...
there is supposed to
be magic in the process of creating
as well as the walking.
but I begin to get obsessed
and ....just want it finished!
Over desert hill and dale
I carry a varitey of grey, brown stones,
up slippery sand shifting sides of
down the wash, to throw them
up to a lower level
then carry them
to be piled in the wheel barrow
(which is very wobbly, old
and in need of repair)
often it would veer left or right
dumping them before my desintation!
My fingers ripped and arms scratched,
my dog and cats
looking on with a mixture of
sympathy and terror.
(for my sanity?)
Close to the end,
I dream about "my midnight
sneak runs" to surrounding neighbors yards
so many rocks just laying there,
unused and unappreciated,
okay, so they might be holding up
a section of gravely yard or wall,
but I just bet they would rather be
a part of something more grand...
like a labyrinth?
And then near the end of end
maybe just 100 to go...
my Stone people started
to look very tempting, just yards away
for the taking...hmmm?
But a friend intervened
with his truck
and we found a rock wall in the middle
and it was...ah....done!
To be done wasn't enough...
I wanted the challenge of
a Stone sculpture as
tall as me...to finish it!
Though it fell over four times that day,
it now stands like a pillar of prayer
and the guardian of the path.
The torches of twelve?
On a sentimental note...
think I will light them as a
ongoing blessing for and to
a varying selection of twelve people,
I love and honor
and miss and believe in and pray for...
surrounding the circle path
with their light and grace,
as I walk and ask and ponder
"Where can I get more rocks?"
Pam Piper Rain