My Perfect Labyrinth

Have you ever had a time when you just felt in sync with where and what you should be doing? Last weekend was wonderful that way. Don’t get me wrong, it was also exhausting. But, sometimes, the two things can coexist.

We had a board meeting on Saturday for Quaker House. I had worked hard and had two extra reports that represented significant effort and had, likewise, required quite a bit of attention to detail. I stayed up late the night before to make the house more accommodating to the dog sitter spending some time here and left early in the morning for the two-hour drive. The board meeting went well. I am always amazed by the dedication of our board members.

I got to my hotel room, let my daughter know I was out of the board meeting and to text me when I could come over, and them promptly crashed, full out, in the bed, under the covers. When my daughter texted, I went over to her place to spend a few hours catching up with her and my son-in-law. I love spending time with them. Amazing, crazy, motivated kids who keep me on my toes intellectually with their insights into their world and their open hearts.

Sunday, I got to go to Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business and to Worship with Spring Friends. I have not worshiped with them since August and I have missed them! During the business meeting, a local cat was wandering around in the snow and was welcomed in to share our breakfast, warmth, and discussions.

Cat acting as assistant recording clerk.

Finally, before beginning the two-hour drive back to Fayettteville, I had seen the pleasant forecast and brought a change of clothes so that I could visit the Shallow Ford Trail again. I have not found my perfect trail in Fayetteville, and I was really missing Shallow Ford. Two people warned me, “It’ll be muddy and wet.” “It’s okay. I brought my muddy and wet shoes.” The second I stepped onto the foot bridge over a tiny creek that begins the trail and heard the gurgling of the water over bits of ice and rocks, I knew I was where I was supposed to be.

Shallow Ford, like many trails through wooded areas, winds back and forth and round and about. It goes uphill and downhill. Sometimes, there are trees that have come down and have not been cleared away, yet.

We have mindfulness classes at Quaker House and, the first Thursday of the month, Holy Trinity opens their beautiful labyrinth to the public. That labyrinth is peaceful and serene. It makes up the floor of the sanctuary, is lit by votive candles artistically placed around it, and you can hear the trickling water of the baptismal font. It leaves nothing to be desired in beauty and in inviting a clear mind.

I have also walked an outdoor labyrinth at Stony Point Center in New York. It is simpler, but makes up for that simpleness by being outside.

I have been trying to love labyrinths, to confine my feet to their intricate patterns. But, now I finally realize, my perfect labyrinth is laid out in the winding trails through wooded areas along rivers and tributaries, up hills and down slopes, over rocks and around occasionally fallen trees. My perfect labyrinth is of the more wild variety.



Oktoberfest in the Neighborhood

Apparently my new neighborhood gets together on a semi-regular basis to have potlucks. As luck would have it, the one scheduled after my move into the area was at my next-door neighbor’s house, and I was welcomed to join in (at least partially thanks to the previous director making introductions for me).

The email that was sent around said that it was German themed, to wear lederhosen or dirndl if we have them, and that we were welcome to bring a German dish, type based on where our last names fell in the alphabet. My last name fell to the appetizers.

I made German pretzels with obatzda (a cheese butter spread).

It took me a couple of tries to get the twist of the pretzel semi-correct. I guess I had not perfected that skill when playing with playdough in my early childhood, and now I was paying for it. Since I did not go grocery shopping until this morning, there was not time to properly perfect my technique. Plus, the dough was continuing to rise.

Despite the child-art appearance of my pretzels, both they and the obatzda were quite tasty. Even Macy the Neighborly Macaw agreed.

The best surprise for me? Almost everyone was wearing authentic dirndl oder lederhosen, and the entire spread was homemade German food. It was amazing. But, then, I guess I should have known–living just outside the largest military installation in the United States, most of my neighbors have probably been stationed in Germany at least once.

As far as work goes, Friday I tabled at the VA Mental Health Summit and Tuesday I will be at the Ft. Bragg Special Victims Summit. I am still not finished unpacking . . .