Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Big Push

(For more information about my 50-state labyrinth journey, please click on the "Labyrinth Journey" tab above.

My labyrinth journey is nearing an end. I will walk #50 in Hawaii on July 4th.  Drew will walk with me, as will Marian (who has traveled to 19 states with me) and her husband, Jim - friends for 30 years.
As exciting as the completion of this two-year trek is, it's not yet time for reflection. Not time to put away the suitcase, bid a less than fond farewell to the "lady" on Mapquest who drones "re-calculating" each time I take a wrong turn, or send letters of commendation to Southwest Airlines, Hampton Inns, and a quintet of rental car companies.

My personal goal has been to finish visiting a labyrinth in each state, except Hawaii, by July 1, 2014. With that date speeding faster and faster on the horizon, I looked west to the six remaining states in that area that I needed to visit. BIG states! Utah, Wyoming, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico. States #42-47 in my journey.

Mid-April I began plotting my course. It was the largest jigsaw puzzle of a trip yet. Connecting the labyrinth creators' schedules with airplanes, rental cars, hotels, plus the one variable that even a 10-day forecast can't guarantee -- Weather. Mile-high and higher elevations could mean spring snows and all the travel joys that would bring. But, similar to my February trip when the Polar Vortex was spinning out of control, there reaches a point when you say, "Come Hell or High Water, I'm doing it." (At least, my grandfather used to say that.)

Long story shortened, here's the "text" version. (For the longer tale, you'll have to wait for the book. Yes, the book!)

Arrived Salt Lake City, Utah, just ahead of thunderstorms.
Drove to Elko, Nevada to visit Sarah Sweetwater's labyrinths.

Her personal labyrinth

Elko Peace Park Labyrinth, which Sarah designed

Back to Salt Lake
Visited Peggy Montrone and daughter, Christy's, "cabin" labyrinth -- up a mountain, in the snow.
Weather cleared; returned in the afternoon.

Peggy, expert mountain-driver in the snow!
Three hours later -
With the help of boots, I made it to the center and back.

Flew to Denver; drove to Cheyenne.
Visited Vanda Edington and Anne Wagner who helped envision the labyrinth at Cheyenne Botanic Gardens.
The next day, the labyrinth was under 10 inches of snow!

Vanda and Anne
This labyrinth sits atop the original grass one.
Barbara and Mary in front of the Chartres-style labyrinth

Drove back to Denver.
Visited Barbara Machann's labyrinths in nearby Sedalia.  Barbara's friend, Mary Turner, has "adopted" Barbara's larger, Chartres labyrinth and helps her tend it.

The next day. . .
You guessed it -- 9 inches of snow!

The Classical design next to it
Kent, Cherylee, Terrylee and Lorenzo

Flew to Albuquerque, New Mexico; drove to
Pinedale, Arizona.
Who knew there were "high wind warnings" on the Plains?                  
Visited Cherylee Brewer's labyrinth that she and her family created.

Rocks from the area line the path

Backtracked across the Plains, through Albuquerque to Cerrillos, New Mexico.
Visited Liz Paterson's "goddess" labyrinth.

The labyrinth lies in an old riverbed

Liz with her goddess sculpture
One week, six states, six labyrinths, nine inspiring women! It is their stories, of course, which shape the heart of my journey, as have the others before them. An ancient design connects each woman to herself, to the larger group, and to me. I am profoundly grateful to them all!

 Nebraska next week. Louisiana the week after that. Then Hawaii.

I carry each story with me as I walk.

Thanks to all you readers who continue to encourage me and show such an enthusiastic interest in my story!  

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Beware of Flying Phones

Yesterday afternoon, 5:30.  Commuter exodus from NYC.
World Trade Center PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) Terminal, where trains pick up and drop off commuters between Lower Manhattan and Jersey City. A quick 8 minutes (give or take a few) from Point A to B - under the Hudson River. I try not to think about that part.

I was going with the flow - down a steep escalator, through a turnstile, along a hallway, deeper down a set of stairs.  People ahead of me suddenly started walking faster.  The train was waiting, but not for long. I caught a glimpse of open doors and picked up the pace.

"Beware of the closing doors," the robotic voice sounded.
Two choices. Wait for the next train or Go For It!
What did I have to lose? An arm, foot, computer bag, perhaps, crushed in the slamming doors? Nothing that dramatic, but I could incur the "Look of Scorn" from sardine-packed commuters, were I to trip the door's automatic eye and cause even a momentary delay.

My decision to Go For It didn't take into account the fact that there was no place to GO!  Multiple bodies formed a solid wall at the very door at which I was rushing head-first.
Too late. Momentum has little patience for wishy-washiness. I pushed my way in, then was pushed in further by three people who stumbled in behind me.
My shoulder hit something soft, cushiony, rotund. A man's belly.  Before I had a chance to say "Pardon me," the train lurched forward.  I grabbed the nearest pole. He grabbed for his phone, as it left his hand and headed towards my head.  He missed.

Whack! Right against my temple. Then to the floor. A BlackBerry.  Not even an iPhone. I might have been more forgiving had the brand been more to my liking.

Who knew that a flying phone could carry such a wallop, sting with such a vengeance?

The man-with-the-belly apologized, three times.
"Are you OK?" he asked.
"I'm so sorry." Then later, "Are you sure you're OK?"

"I'm fine," I assured him. It was only a phone attack, after all. I would survive. Kind of him to ask, though.

As the train slowed to a stop at the Newport Station and I made my way to the door, we nodded to each other, acknowledging our mutual encounter.

He sped away, as I walked along the platform, climbed the steps, through the tunneled hallway, up the crowded escalator and OUT into the evening light.

Safely at home, I surveyed my injury in the mirror.

Not even a scratch to document my close call. . . with a phone.


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