Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Beyond Cornfields and Hay

I'm sure that I've said, and heard, the word "Journey" a hundred, or even hundreds of times in the last week.  That makes sense considering I flew 1000 miles, drove 1300, then flew 1000 back, to walk labyrinths and  talk to their creators in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa.  But, the reason I continue to use the "J" word is because it signifies more than a trip, where the goal is to get from A to B. It's a clue that something happens inside the traveler, a passage, a change, somehow different than when she started.  And it can happen without leaving home.

I've now visited an outdoor labyrinth, envisioned and/or created by a woman (or women), in 30 states. But on this trip, I had hours of opportunities to reflect beyond my own journey, to the journeys of the women I was visiting.  

Hours in the company of corn. . .

                    and hay.


In Minnesota, Kate Raatz told me of her journey to find a home with enough land to build a labyrinth for walking meditation.  She finally found the right spot in Elk River and mowed a 140 foot labyrinth in her front yard.

Sister Gemma Peters in Bismarck, North Dakota, has been on a spiritual journey as a nun for 62 years.  She helped plan and create the prairie labyrinth at the Annunciation Monastery.

Two mothers who lost sons continue their journey of healing.  Jeannie Ammon and Carol Baum built a labyrinth in the Dell Rapids, South Dakota Cemetery, and it has grown into the Mothers' Healing Garden, a place for all in need of healing.

On a 160-acre family farm in Hubbard, Iowa, Mary Dreir has built three labyrinths -- a Chartres, a spiral, and her favorite, the classical... in the prairie (picture of the entrance taken just before sunrise). The labyrinths were the beginning of her journey to create Soul of the Prairie, where people can come for a "quiet space."  

I add their faces to my map, their journeys to my life and continue. Later this month, I travel to Washington, Montana and Idaho, following a trip to facilitate two labyrinth retreats with dear friends in Juneau, Alaska.  The labyrinth is taking me to places I would have never guessed, including into my self.


  1. A journey indeed. Thanks for sharing. Helps me quiet my mind and recall simple joys.

  2. Each of these labyrinths was so peaceful. I can just look at them and recall the calm feeling I experienced while walking each one.


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