I made a snow labyrinth in our garden today, in too-thin boots, with my bare arms to the world, while starlings, juncos and red-winged blackbirds chittered in the trees, waiting for me to relinquish their frozen world again.
It wasn’t my initial design. I was just taking scraps to the compost, observing how the trails of the dogs through the snow were rather the opposite of desire lines. They were more like the random walk theories, heard somewhere in a physics lecture room a lifetime ago, embodied. My eyes followed the trails across the snow to different corners, and saw the tiny scratch marks of the birds foraging, as I stopped at the bottom of the stairs, the scrap bin in my hand. I put it down.
Once the decision was made, my thoughts turned to symmetry, measurements, designs. I immediately threw those thoughts out. I started to walk. Walking a labyrinth in snow is not so easy, especially when you’re making it with your feet. I walked in ever shrinking circles, hugging the inside of the two furrowed path of my tracks, turning each time I reached my virtual entry.
Awareness of the birds slowly diminished as I walked the snow labyrinth, as I approached the centre, making a little flourish with the last of the snow left me, as I turned down the space I’d left to the entry. I walked out, back to the garden, with my bare arms, birds calling, the sky that luminous grey colour that suggests something magical might happen.
I returned to the steps, picked up the scrap bin, then went to the deck and looked down on our labyrinth. It’s amazing what you can create when you stop obsessing and let things create themselves. I stayed a little longer, aware of the urgent chatter of the birds to return.
I went inside, and the dogs, fascinated by my wanderings wanted to go out. The first to reach the labyrinth charged straight through the entry, followed it for half a circuit, then charged joyously off into the snow.
Today I walked the first labyrinth in our garden. It will not be the last.
P.S. Clare was an old friend who left this world many years ago, taking with her the dreams of the labyrinth. I feel it is through her that these dreams are returning once more.