4 walks : timing

ribbonWalk 36: August 18:  A toad crossed my path, bats fluttered overhead in the dark. I had not gotten to the labyrinth all day, but finally, my father, his wife and I arrived at nightfall. The garden had small lights to guide our way, . The white stones were lit by moonlight. The three of us silently walked the labyrinth like ancient monks.  While I was on one side of the labyrinth I saw my father and his wife walk alongside each other, then suddenly swoop away from each other. I keep my gaze at the moon, and worry that we are disturbing Kathy by being in her backyard at such an hour. On the walk out, we three swoop away in an elaborate dance with each other, choreographed by the labyrinth.

Walk 37: August 19: I did not go to the labyrinth in the morning, and had to work for an hour in the evening, so I took an hour break in the afternoon. The stolen hour was just what I needed, and coming to the garden bathed in afternoon sunlight was like coming home. I inhaled the mint plants that line the garden gates. My family have all departed. I realized as I took this walk that I began walking the labyrinth just after my childhood home (also always laced with mint in the summer) had been sold, leaving with a new homesickness that I had not felt the same way in my first year in a new place. I went back to work, grounded and peaceful, almost too much so, as I had to speak at Parent’s Orientation. It was so satisfying to speak to parents who so obviously very much cared about their children’s education that on the drive back, under the canopy of trees on Morris Road, I felt that I was truly happy in my life. I decided to not go directly home, but to the St. Joseph’s labyrinth. Others go to Wissahickon Creek to fish, I am compelled to walk a labyrinth, but I was tempted to see the water, although it was once again getting dark. The classical labyrinth pattern on the smooth brick at St. Joseph’s is such a contrast to the earthy St. Jude’s labyrinth. On the way out I take in the scent of the heavy rose blossoms. Will I mourn the summer more acutely this year in my new intimacy with the flowers?

When I got home, the cat that my neighbor had mistaken for my missing Eartha startled me like a black ghost. The cat does resemble many of the black cats I have known. I opened up one of the cat food cans I had just purchased but she did not want it. She was frightened of me, yet she sat on the grass looking up at me while I peered down at her from the stoop. I got her some dry food, which she did end up eating. My cats watched her eat from inside and hissed and chortled angrily. They are jealous of her freedom from my oppressive kisses and cuddling. I don’t understand her view of me–she seems to want something from me, but is not taking what I am giving. I am reminded of how much I miss my old friend, Eartha and hope that she is free from suffering.

Walk 38: August 20: I almost did not go to the labyrinth in the morning, pulled by my work obligations, my tiredness, but my need to start the day right. I trudge through the labyrinth, still half asleep, part of me already taken up with work cares. I am grateful to practice.

Walks 39 and 40: August 21 After the longest day, I decide to walk to the labyrinth. Before I left I unfortunately checked email. A faculty member’s careless word to a superior. Careless and inaccurate. I spend walk 39 rehearsing emails to everyone, so much so that I could not remember the walk out at all. So I immediately turned around and took a second walk. I veered from sight to sight, the white azaleas, the shade trees, the purple daisies, the church, back to the white azaleas. Present, but unable to be penetrated by the peace and beauty. Walked home and saw the way the London plane trees’ leaves were beginning to pale.

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