Monday, February 24, 2014

Visiting Labyrinths Before the Next Winter Blast

(For more information about my 50-state labyrinth journey, please click on the "Labyrinth Journey" tab above. Visits to Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi make #38, 39 and 40, with 10 more to go by my July 1st goal!)

It was a risk to plan a labyrinth trip in February (17th-19th), with the Polar Vortex pounding parts of the country that could affect my travel.  I intentionally visited Minnesota, North and South Dakota when it was so hot that my sunscreen was challenged to keep up. Saving Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi for winter seemed like a safe bet.  Not this year.

Three days before I left, I received an email from Clarice O'Bryan in Owensboro, Kentucky, whose labyrinth I planned to visit on the 18th. .
"I awoke this morning to over three inches of snow.  The labyrinth has disappeared.  Hope we have a clear view on the 18th."

Gracie Regen in Nashville said that her labyrinth was covered with leaves - soggy, heavy leaves.  More rain, with the potential for severe thunderstorms, was in the forecast.

And who would have thought?  Snow and ice in the Deep South, including Mississippi, where I was visiting Nancy Bridges' labyrinth on the 19th. 

 With delays and cancellations occurring on a regular basis at Newark Airport, would I even be able to get out?

Should I take a chance. ..  or reschedule?

With a three-day window of opportunity in the five-day forecast, I decided to go!  My journey to visit a labyrinth in every state, is never solely about the labyrinth. It's, equally, about the woman who envisioned and built it. It's about her story. The three women were available; I would keep my fingers crossed about the labyrinths.

My labyrinth-traveling friend, Marian Levine and I, flew out of Newark Monday morning, on time. (The next morning brought more snow, and multiple delays/cancellations.)  By that evening, we had driven from Nashville to Owensboro. 
It was raining.
I brought my rain boots. 

"Clarice, this is Twylla." I said the next morning as Marian and I were leaving the hotel. "I should be at your house in about 20 minutes."

"The rain last night cleared a lot of snow off the labyrinth.  And the sun is shining this morning, the first time in about 10 days!" Her excitement matched mine. 

Placing my feet gently on stone, mud and ice, I made my way to the center of Clarice's labyrinth and back. Yesterday, the path would have been impossible to discern. Today, I  walked each step with gratitude.

As we drove back to Nashville that afternoon, signs of snow gradually faded. Under partly cloudy skies, I hoped to walk Gracie's labyrinth before the predicted rain began. 

Tucked in the valley at the back of Gracie's house lay her Man in the Maze Labyrinth.
Thankfully, moss-covered rocks outlined the path, barely visible under a dumping of autumn leaves. I had never seen this configuration before, except in pictures, and was eager to walk it. Gracie showed me the entrance, pointed the way to the first turn, then left me alone to 
walk. As with every labyrinth, I could trust that the path would lead me to the center and back, no matter what the design, nor number of leaves.  It did.
In Tupelo the next morning, all vestiges of ice and snow had melted into a humid 50 degrees. I looked for Nancy's labyrinth as Marian and I drove into her driveway, remembering the 100-foot dimension on the Labyrinth Locator. It should be easy to spot;  but it wasn't until Nancy walked us to within a few feet of the labyrinth's edge, that I saw the faint outline of pavers.  Her "Harmony Labyrinth" blended in with the brownness of the season, as if it were resting.  Wild onion shoots, freshly mowed by Nancy's husband, littered the path, and smelled of spring. The labyrinth was waking up.  

Back to Nashville one last time, we checked in at the Southwest counter. Our flight had been cancelled. 
"At least we did it; we visited them all before we were stopped." I said, as Marian and I walked away. 
"Oh, wait!" shouted the ticket agent. "Flight #45 from Houston is making an unscheduled stop to pick up 40 of you going to Newark. I've never known that to happen before."

"Ummm. . ." I smiled. "It doesn't surprise me."





  1. I love seeing all the wintry labyrinth scenes. Glad the trip worked out so well!

    1. Thanks, Elizabeth! I'm delighted the trip worked out, too. Outdoor labyrinths, built into the earth, change - just as the people who walk them. It's fascinating to experience them throughout the year.

  2. I love taking the journey with you. Trust the Garden Labyrinth will be clear of snow when you visit the high plains. Five more inches of snow last night in Cheyenne. We are double our typical snowfall. But we have no doubt that it will all work as it should when you visit Wyoming. Vanda

    1. Vanda, I'm really looking forward to my trip to visit the labyrinth in Cheyenne and meet you! Let's hope this extreme winter weather is on its last leg!


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