Coastal Voices: Park labyrinth proposed

Submitted

I believe that creating a labyrinth in Front Street (Beachfront) Park would be a wonderful community project, resulting in a peaceful, healing and inspiring area in which others can gather for special (or everyday) events.

Several labyrinths exist in our extended area (see labyrinthlocator.com as a means to search) and serve their communities and clientele (some have been created in gardens at hospitals because of their healing properties), but wouldn't a labyrinth in Front Street Park, perhaps with some sheltering bushes and benches encircling it, be a wonderful and natural addition to our beautiful community?

As a relatively new member of our town, I have been wondering this for a while now, and in talking to others have discovered that they, too, think a public labyrinth would be an asset to our community.

Walking a labyrinth is one of those experiences that reminds us of

what we have in common with each other and with nature. As you probably

know, a labyrinth is not a maze (in which one can become confused and

even lost); a labyrinth has one path in to its center and one path out.

The first time I walked a small labyrinth at Buckhorn Springs in

Oregon, I realized that I could give up thinking for the time being and

simply allow one foot to follow the other. The walk became a moving

meditation in which I could be entirely present to my natural

surroundings without the gnawing fear of getting lost or not knowing

what to do next.

In our too-busy lives, such easy silence and certainty can be an

immense gift. Like the Montessori teachers' use of a simple ellipsis

painted on the floor for children who are restless and unable to focus

to walk on and calm down, the labyrinth has a similar effect, though it

can do much more than evoke calmness.

According to Lauren Artress in her book "Walking a Sacred Path," a

labyrinth attracts people because "it is a tool to guide healing, deepen

self-knowledge, and empower creativity; (it) clears the mind, urges

action, ... (and) gives solace and peace."

However, that's not to say that walking a labyrinth is necessarily a

somber experience. When I was inside Chartres Cathedral in France this

past summer and had the opportunity to walk that famous 11th century

labyrinth, I felt an exhilaration that reminded me of my childhood sense

of wonder and joy, and I found myself skipping along the path, humming

quietly, feeling more and more happy.

Upon relating my experience to someone later, I was told that early

pilgrims to Chartres used walking the labyrinth as a celebratory ritual

and would often sing and dance on it. On the exterior gravel labyrinth

that is cut into grass outside the immense cathedral in Chartres,

children do run and play, laughing loudly, while others picnic nearby.

These are some of my personal experiences with labyrinths. I'm not

sure how one might even begin such a project. I understand that public

land would need to be dedicated, and then funding would need to be

procured (perhaps through grants, which I've researched a little) to

create the labyrinth.

Chris Parmentier is a Crescent City resident.

13987900
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