Tuesday, October 14, 2008

WALKING A DREAM: LEAMINGTON’S LABYRINTH


Not long after after moving here, I learned that Leamington has it’s own honest-to-goodness labyrinth. And not some canvas one rolled out when needed on the rec room floor, but a real one in a garden setting with trimmed boxwood bushes. That was not something I would have expected, and the idea intrigued me. One day, my friend Judith (of the painted silk scarves, see Aug 29/08 post) called me to say she was going there, and would I like to come along. I grabbed my camera, and off we went. Winding along a road in town that I would never have discovered on my own, we arrived at a charming little park, surrounded by a row of single-family residences on one side, and two complexes of differing levels of assisted living on the other. In the middle was the labyrinth and a monument to the Mennonite settlers in the area. The sun was shining, the air was warm and quiet, the little Nanking cherry was in fruit. In short, it was perfect, although I’m sure it would feel perfect there in any season, it’s just that kind of place.

Judith asked if I would like to know the story about how the labyrinth came to be, and of course I was eager to hear it. She said that she loved the idea of a labyrinth, and had always wished that the town had one, but of course there would have been a lot of obstacles to that. Location, money, location, money…. Then one day the local Horticultural Society announced it was looking for ideas to implement in a park space in the heart of town. Judith expressed her desire for a labyrinth. That was the location part, but what about the money? Well, the Horticultural Society took care of the plantings (and handles the upkeep) and a local Canada Works project provided the labor. That was the money part. The labyrinth has come to be with no costs involved!

The labyrinth itself is an 11-circuit one, patterned after the labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral. It was only adapted a bit to accommodate the size changes necessitated by the width of the hedge. At the entry/exit there’s a sign, made by Judith and her husband, which tells about the benefits and properties of walking a labyrinth. There’s even a graphic of the circuit, set at wheelchair level, so those who can’t negotiate the hedges can trace the pattern – a finger labyrinth – and meditate. That was some seven years ago, and now Judith walks her dream regularly. I didn’t walk it that day (wonky foot; long story) but I plan to soon. I have it in mind that it will look lovely in the snow, too. I know I'll enjoy walking my friend's dream!


Click to enlarge photos

9 comments:

Sylvia K said...

What an absolutely fabulous idea! and what a beautiful park. Thanks so much for sharing the photos, they're perfect!

me ann my camera said...

This would be a dream journey for I have always been fascinated with the idea of labyrinths! I think it would be wonderful, for a short time, to discover the isolation and privacy of such a trek down a path of decision making and discovery.
ann

gardenpath said...

I read about them, but never seen a real one. It is pretty. That story is so nice. Where there is a wheel, there is quite often a way, huh?

Island Rambles Blog said...

Wow what great photos of the labyrinths, I have never seen one either...would be fun to see from the air. Cheers.

magiceye said...

must be fun!!

bobbie said...

What a delight! I do remember being in a labyrinth once as a child, and feeling some panic because I could not see over the hedges. Cannot recall where this was or how old I was at the time. I have seen corn mazes, but nothing so lovely as this one. Do go back as soon as you can.

Rose said...

I really didn't know anything about labyrinths till I read your post! Just thought they were sort of cool.

if said...

I wish I could walk that labyrinth!

Quiet Paths said...

I too have read about these but have never walked one. I hope you get to do it soon. Wonderful post.