Circling by Christopher Janney


It is 67 degrees and beautiful in PA, and 38 degrees in San Antonio. I am on my way to Texas for a presentation and am homesick for the labyrinth. A misunderstanding earlier in the day had scared me and in that moment of fear, my brain was filled with the labyrinth, almost exactly as the picture  describes…was this a reversal, a sudden twist in the direction I was going? Why would I be so surprised if it was? My meditation on the labyrinth must be working for it to invade my mind so fully in a moment of faux crisis.


A colleague called me and began telling me of her sister’s stage 4 diagnosis of cancer and how quickly it had consumed, her, her health destroyed within weeks, her bones disintegrated. I remember the suddenness of the deaths of my own loved ones, sudden to me even for those who were gravely ill. I sit on the plane and scroll through photographs of the labyrinth and am cheered to see the stone church and the curly multi-colored flag that guards the labyrinth that I never write about but always enjoy.

Why did I misunderstand the text I received, innocent enough and meant to be a joke. Why couldn’t I hear the good naturedness of it, what is in me to expect a turn for the worst? How unexpected and marvelous is my new relationship with Paul.  Is the labyrinth reinforcing my belief in symmetry—that happiness will bring equally weighted sadness. Life is much more about the unexpectedness which I first felt with traveling the labyrinth.

The last time I walked the labyrinth, on one of my rare mornings when I am ready for work early,   I was at first struck by the simplicity of a path with no leaves crunching beneath me, and then by the beauty of the osage tree without its shady yellow leaves. I could see the delicate patterns the black bones of the tree made against the blue sky and was momentarily cheered that winter, although not as glorious as autumn, would still have some charm at the labyrinth and garden of St. Jude and the Nativity.  Currently, the church’s announcement board says “Get Rich Quick: Count Your Blessings”I

I have a stop over in Dallas. I walk out of the plane. Directly in front of me is CIRCLING An Urban Musical Instrument by Christopher Janney. A Harmonic Labyrinth. I walk it, trying to follow directions as the path is more open than in most labyrinths, the floor lights up as I walk and gentle sounds of gongs mingle with each other, with an occasional dog park or cow moo. I love the blue translucent walls, I always thought a labyrinth should have real walls. The walk reminds me once more that the symmetry is there but there is no sensation of symmetry, hence my theory on balance and happiness/sadness debunked, and rightfully so.

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