|Community as an individual activity
||[May. 21st, 2010|06:53 pm]
I worked on our community labyrinth today.|
I fully intended to walk the labyrinth, not work it. I had issues to resolve, a God to talk to, anxiety to curb, and muddled thoughts to straighten out. But what I noticed when I got to my favorite spot in the woods was the pile of rocks at the entrance to our labyrinth.
When C created the labyrinth it was branches and sticks lining the path. The wide entrance quickly narrowed, and a triangular rock pointed left to hint that at the better, longer route to the center. In among trees, and covered with pine needles, the path was reasonably clear, although typically I find a pine cone, a large rock, or a crooked branch to move out of my way.
The first adaptation was P, who placed a pile of rocks at the entrance, and suggested we each carry two as we walk, placing them on the borders, so that eventually the entire labyrinth will have more permanent lines marking the way. I thought it was a good idea, but never had the mental space to do that when I was walking. Sometimes I'd place a couple rocks when I was done.
I don't know who added the small stool in the inner circle, a place to rest and reflect. And someone added a tupperware box with a notebook and colored pencils. I've never written in the book, but I imagine it when I sit, thinking about the others who have walked, prayed, written, or thought in that space.
Someone has painted an arrow on that first triangular rock, making it more clear that the longest path is to the left. If you go to the right you get to the center quickly, in just a few turns. I've tried that sometimes, especially when I'm angry, as if getting to the problem sooner will make it better, or will come to quicker resolution. It doesn't work, of course, but then I walk out on the longer path. Or sit longer. Or occasionally, stamp my way out to the road, yelling at myself and the labyrinth and the world, hoping THAT will solve my problems.
But today my problems wouldn't be walked, they had to be worked. So I added rocks. Lots of them. If you cradle your arm just right you can hold six or seven at time, and then walk until you find a place where the boundary is not clear, and put down some rocks to mark the path. I walked back to the start, got another armful, and continued again from the entrance, until the boundary looked vague once again. After the first batch I crossed the lines of the labyrinth, but quickly realized that that is missing the point. So I followed the path over and over again, cradling rocks, checking the path, repairing an edge, walking back, and then repeating picking up more rocks to begin again. By the fifth trip I was around the second curve, and by the tenth I'd circled back to a place I already had placed rocks on the boundary.
Boundaries are part of community, of course, and I wasn't that surprised to find that some of them were broken. I was a little more confused by the way that I could build a border that seemed just right, and then come back to it and see that it needed more work. And I was delighted when I came to a section that someone else had spent time on, placing rocks neatly and in order, the boundary clearly marked on both sides of the trail.
I went to walk, but instead I worked, drawing some lines in the dirt today, putting down some rocks on the path. I marked clearly what is left and what is right. I came to the muddled labyrinth with issues, God, and anxiety; I left the labyrinth a little more clear, less anxious, full go God and ideas.
I did this work alone, in the woods, but the results are part of creating community, out in the open.
It feels like good work.