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.



Who’s Being Treated Well?

Today, Rebar The Pit Bull Dog has been in my home for exactly one week.

He is as wonderful as I had hoped. Of course, I had made sure of a few things. The sign on his kennel door at the shelter said he did well with cats. We had him “cat tested” to be sure (they walked him into the cat room where he gently sniffed the kittens, who were not sure about being sniffed). He seemed to have a good temperament and, when not distracted by other cool, potential-friend dogs and people, he was attentive to me–until we got to my car to drive home. Then, I was surprised to see him ignore the open door and ignore my happy “let’s go for a ride” encouragements. He sat down facing away from me and away from the open door and pretend neither I nor the car existed. We were invisible and I was inaudible, apparently. I had to pick up all 60 pounds of him up and put him in the car. He remained frozen like a statue in the exact position he landed for the entire ride home. Okay. Does not like car rides. Noted.

I got him a new soft bed, and that went over really well,





even if he sometimes ended up perpendicular to its general design.





He obeys Sophie The Cat’s signals not to get too close, even if it is rather dejectedly. Hopefully, Sophie will warm up to him more over time. He tries really hard to learn all these new commands and routines that I have for him.

He loves walks. I love walks. While we were out walking, we met our psychiatrist/psychologist (cannot remember which he is) neighbor. We talked a little bit about his arrival–how he had been in the Hoke County shelter, then the Cumberland County shelter, and then the Fayetteville Animal Protection Society shelter, that he had wear on his limbs from being kept constantly on a hard floor, how he was adjusting, that I was working on heeling with him. Then, my neighbor said, “You’re treating . . . ” and my mind immediately anticipated the end of his statement as something about giving him a home/saving his life–and at Christmastime, too. Luckily, I was polite enough to let him finish his own statement. He was saying, “You’re treating yourself well.”

I smiled. Indeed, I was. I now had a necessity to be outside several times a day. Today, I was outside walking while it was 67 degrees in December. Global warming is not a good thing, but not missing an opportunity like that to be outside is a good thing. I have met more of my neighbors and the guy who does the yard work at a couple of homes.

I hope 2018 is a good year for you! Don’t forget to treat yourself well, sometimes.