“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2014 Lenten labyrinth walks, Almetto Howie Alexander Labyrinth – McCrorey YMCA/Charlotte NC (8/40) , Avondale Presbyterian Church – Charlotte (9/40):
I love the saying at the entrance to the Almetto Howie Alexander Labyrinth: “With patience persistence and prayer, the God-filled spirit can bring a seed to fruit – Almetto Howie Alexander 2011”
As I walked up, I realized that my shoes are the same earthy brown color that is used for the boundaries of this labyrinth. This labyrinth is another painted labyrinth, painted by the same artist that painted the labyrinth at Myers Park Baptist Church. The path is a shade of blue that could be either water or sky with wispy clouds. It’s a wonderful experience to think about why the labyrinth was designed the way it was: the design used (this one is Chartres), the medium used to create it (this one is painted concrete) and the artistic references (this one has an African-American theme) and the location (this one is on a concrete slab on the campus of a YMCA built to support an economically disadvantaged community).
I enjoyed this walk immensely. This was probably the first walk that I have not been hesitant to walk because it’s too cold or too wet or too whatever. It was nice not to feel anxiety, but rather feel anticipation.
As I walked I heard birds chirping. Really it was a perfect day to slow down for 20 minutes and walk. (As I have said before, please join me. I can make it work. And I would love a companion on my walks. Have you ever walked?)
As I was thinking this, I realized that a group of women was watching me. This boisterous group of women had just exited the Y and they were talking and laughing excitedly. They had deep wonderful laughs. As they walked close to the labyrinth, they paused. I asked them if they had ever walked and asked if they wanted to join me. One of the women said, “No, I was just saying that I have never seen anyone walk the labyrinth” I, again, invited them to walk and encouraged them to go on the website on the sign, almetto.org. I really hope they consider walking it. I told them it’s very relaxing and that the website would give them a little bit of history of this labyrinth and other labyrinths. I told him that there are thousands of years of history behind this labyrinth and that there are labyrinths all over the world. I love to encourage labyrinth walking. A few minutes later, I had the same conversation with another woman leaving the Y.
As I drove home from the Y labyrinth, I realized that I was close to Avondale. Well it’s Friday and I had some time, so I decided to do a double walk, walking the walk². I laughed to myself because one friend noted that I must be walking a labyrinth for pi day, and I got to quip back: walking a labyrinth on pi day … piety! My friends know me too well. So since I missed one day in my first week for the rain (Lord, please forgive my sins), it was my chance to catch up.
I pulled into the parking lot and responded to a couple of emails. I rolled down my window, and I could hear the chimes.
For those of you who wonder why do this, it is an amazingly cleansing experience. Each labyrinth is different, and the experience at a labyrinth is very dependent upon the physical location of the labyrinth, both in time and space. Avondale almost always gives you a heightened sense of peace due to the private nature of the sacred garden where the labyrinth is located and the chimes that are also in the garden. I do love this place.
In contrast to the Y labyrinth, I had the shade/non-shade thing going on today. A full one-fourth of the labyrinth is dark and cool. It’s the corner under the tree that has very lopsided bench.
Anyway two great walks.
And as for the piety comment … Probably not …
pi·e·tyˈpī-itē/noun1.the quality of being religious or reverent.“acts of piety and charity”
Have a great weekend!