I walked the labyrinth on December 31, the last day of 2014. The sun was bright and there were no leaves on the labyrinth, and for the first time, the ground was frozen. There was an enormous kale plant that had turned bright red, but otherwise the colors were somber and I was grateful for the sunshine.
I went to the labyrinth next on January 3, after a profound yoga class. It was hailing and dressing that morning in black and grey I had felt dim, smiling to myself I whispered “I am the Woman in Red” to cheer myself up, but somehow a rather tranquil melancholy which matched the grey of the day followed me and I just relaxed into aligning myself with the wintry mood. The afterglow of my yoga class somehow allowed me to observe my own dark mood without the usual fear, sadness and judgment. There was a taste of ashes in my mouth.
When I got to the labyrinth, I discovered that the statue of the little girl with her arms outstretched with birds perching on them was gone. The waterfall was dry and even the bright red kale plant which I had just discovered on my previous visit was gone. I cried. The statue, celebrating the life of the little child who had died of cancer, has come to me to symbolize the labyrinth, my secret garden, my very own place. As I took the winding path I reflected that I had no one to ask about what had happened, and it is absolutely not my place in the least. I am not a member of the community, and Kathy the pastor who was always so kind, is gone. I now think it must have been vandals.
In the moment I was very shaken and bereft, but I had to admit to myself that this is was illusory. I thought of all those who lost homes (and the symbolic objects within those homes such as family pictures) to devastating catastrophes. I thought of moving out of my parent’s home, of readying it for sale this summer. We found many papers of my mother’s. I opened up a notebook and she had written about her competing commitments around clutter. “I want to clear my space, but our things have meaning.” Hence, many of those things remain in my basement.
During the Protestant Reformation, many zealous Protestants destroyed statues of the Catholic Church. I think of how painful that must have been even for some of the reformers. My grandmother’s statue of Mary and Joseph are aging and cracked and the snowfall this week has caused them to bow forward.