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.

 

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April Showers Bring

May flowers


Precariously balanced drift bark

Animal prints in soft trails

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Muddy leaf veins markings

 

 

 

 

 
Sunlight sparkling off reinvigorated creeks

And gloriously muddy shoes (taken off outside the door).

Only 126 days left to soak up memories in Alamance County. Looking forward to discovering new favorite places in Cumberland County!

Right Place, Right Time

There was a screening of Democracy for Sale at the Haw River Ballroom last night. It was a portion of the American Divided series. Indeed, it was the portion about North Carolina. As the ballroom quickly filled during the preceding hour, I was reminded of something I read recently about the Women’s March (the portion in London):

“I was there because, otherwise, how can we see one another? When we’re refracted through a political and media culture that treats cooperation as schmaltz, equality as passe, honesty as optional, and dissenters as raging weirdos, how other than by congregating can we believe that we’re not alone?

Also, it is fun. I’d forgotten that about protests. ‘Protest’ was never the right word: indeed, was willfully wrong. It’s a celebration of love among strangers.” [1]

It may not have been a march, but it was wonderful to see people coming together ready to learn more, support better, and be inspired to act.

In fact, because it was a North Carolina story, watching it together, we found ourselves in a participatory audience — there were hisses for the bad guys and cheers for our local good guys.

Afterwards, there was a question and answer panel made up of representatives of the Alamance NAACP, Appalachian Voices, Democracy NC, and one of the creators and executive producers, Lucian Read.

The best part, though, was when the question and answer session was interrupted just long enough to share the update that the ACLU had filed a habeas corpus petition on behalf of those affected by the sudden immigration ban, and a federal judge had granted a stay (albeit limited, and by its nature, temporary). The room erupted in applause.

Perhaps the only place better to hear that news would have been at one of the demonstrations occurring at airports around the country. But, it was far better hearing it there in the Ballroom, among united strangers (and a few friends), than reading it on my laptop at home. At home, I might have let out a little cheer or a gasp, but it would have been nothing in comparison to hearing my clapping multiplied all around me.

“Hope and solidarity literally have more energy, and this is an important thing to remember about human beings, even as that energy struggles to find its structural iteration.” [2]

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[1] Williams, Zoe, “Memo to Piers Morgan: Why do we march? It’s not just protest, it’s about love,” The Guardian, Kindle Edition, January 23, 2017, Comment and Debate.
[2] Williams.