The plan was to walk the labyrinth three times in a row, daily. Starting on July 8th. I’d managed to do that every day but one (and I was out of town for all of that day and late into the evening, so I chose not to do a night walk that evening). Until yesterday.
I got up in the morning with my husband, excited to head out for a morning walk down to the big redwood tree in our local state park (I LOVE that I can walk to a state park entrance five minutes from our house). We’re rushing down the stairs, I’m hollering at the dog because she knows better than to push past people on the stairs, but she’s still doing it to Mark! And then I’m falling and rolling and landing on my back at the bottom of the stairs.
I can feel the left ankle as it feels like a thousand little needles are poking it all at the same time. Damn, this hurts!
Mark turns around and sees that I’m down, heads to the freezer to get ice for the ankle and comes back, ready to lie down next to me on the floor. By now, I’ve been there for a little bit, and can feel that while it hurts, it’s nowhere near as bad as sprains I’ve had, but still. . . So I schooch on my butt down the hallway to the living room and then get up and hop on the good foot over to the couch.
Propped in the corner, with pillows and the ice pack, I sit and sigh, realizing that my day isn’t going to be quite what I was expecting. However, at about this point, Mark shows up with a cup of fresh coffee with cream, and asks what I want for breakfast.
I order a camp egg from the short order cook (that’s where you take a slice of bread, cut a circle out of the middle of it, butter it, put it in a hot cast iron pan, and then crack an egg in the middle of the hole. Flip it over when the whites turn opaque. Oh, and don’t forget to butter and toast the little circle from the bread as well.).
So, breakfast on the couch. Mark brings me the iPad, my cellphone and the regular cordless phone, and two books for me to read. Now I’ll be set for awhile! But what about the labyrinth? I’d made a commitment! On Wednesday, no such luck. No walking the labyrinth. I didn’t even make it back there to look at it, but I thought a lot about it.
Then this morning, the ankle is better, but it’s still pretty tender. I’ve got it wrapped to keep the swelling down. The bruising is on the inside of the ankle, which strikes me as odd, because when I used to sprain my right ankle, the blood would just pool along that bottom muscle on the outside of the foot.
I stay off it for as long as I can, and then I just can’t stand it. So I carefully gather up my phone and a book and the three new stones I have for placing in the labyrinth and I head out there. The plan was to just look at it.
But I had those stones. Palm sized stones. Three of them. They had words written on them. Enjoy. Laugh. Dream. Perfect labyrinth stones.
So, I grabbed the three stones and took off my sandals and carefully, slowly started walking. I flipped the stones around in my hands so that I wouldn’t know which stone was where. I like to let serendipity place things like that in the labyrinth.
I walk, and I think about where a stone might want to go. The first space that called out for a stone was close to the center of the Maiden spiral. I place it. Enjoy shines back up at me.
I’m still walking slowly, enjoying the warmth of the sun, as it’s been chilly lately. Somewhere in the Mother spiral another space calls out for a stone. Laugh it says. So, I do!
Still slowly walking, listening to the neighbor chickens squawking, hollering about the nearby hawk? Maybe. It sounds similar to the sound they were making the time that I actually saw the hawk. Into the Crone spiral I meander. Another open space calls for a stone. Dream. Ahhhhh. I head into the heart space at the center of the labyrinth and stand for awhile, listening to the birds. I can hear what I think is the Pileated Woodpecker, working at a hole in the dead pine tree on our property line.
The reason I only think it’s the Pileated Woodpecker is because I didn’t go look. I’d promised myself that I would stop trying to look at it when it came around, because each time I would head over, inching close to the tree (as if I thought I could sneak up on a bird! silly me!). And it would drum for a bit longer and then leave and not come back for weeks. This happened three times. On the third time, I decided that I wouldn’t go further than the labyrinth.
So, now, I hear this deep drumming (it sounds lower in pitch and louder than the drumming of the acorn woodpeckers), and I’m hoping it’s my big woodpecker, but I don’t know. What I do know is that now that I’m not tromping back there to try to see it, it’s staying longer and coming back more frequently.
Sometimes, just hearing is enough. And not knowing is a good state to be in.