The Middle of the Labyrinth

A maze is designed to confuse and confound, a labyrinth to guide you to the center and back.   The way in is the way out is the way in.

In the middle of the labyrinth, everything is metaphor.

Caterpillar travels with a graceful undulation, knowing, somewhere deep inside her spineless body, that life amongst the dirt-crawlers, the worms, the ants, the wingless, will be short.  Soon she will depart from the only world she has known, and with a single-minded dogged determination that she won’t even fully understand, will spin a cocoon in which to curl up and wait for…what? She doesn’t know and it doesn’t matter.  She must do this.  Every fiber of her soft vulnerable body was made for this.  Maybe she is anxious as the time draws near, sensing that her world will soon be irreparably altered in ways that she can not imagine…but she cannot not do this, for her destiny is flight!

And I spiral in and out, now close to the center – so close I can feel it!  Now, so far away.  Just like life.

I find treasure every time I come here – feathers, pinecones, once a leaping ladybug greeted me as I entered the sanctum sanctorum – the center, the innermost place.  And all of these things speak to me.  They guide me. The reveal a layer of truth to me.

I believe that every square inch of this beautiful sphere that we call Earth is holy and sacred. But I also know that sometimes, when we apply love and intention to a certain place, and when we ask for blessing and when we are open to receiving that blessing on that place, it may become imbued with something. . . more.  I think that happened with my labyrinth.

Three years ago, this labyrinth didn’t exist.  Only a lovely piece of sloping land at the bottom of a mountainside garden, anchored by three stalwart, old black walnut trees and owned by another couple (they’re not really part of this particular story).  Then my new husband and I took over stewardship of this Edenic garden and I finished a book that I’d been wrestling to the page for eleven years.  A labor of love, this book, my opus.  I sent the manuscript off to the publisher and while I waited, anxiously – nervously – okay, I was in a state of more or less extreme agitation-this labyrinth, consisting of 3 1/2 tons of sensuous, rounded river stone, hand carried, by me, to the bottom of the garden, and placed lovingly with it’s entrance among the three old walnuts, came into being.  It took two weeks of obsessive, one-pointed focus and at the end of it, I was calm, I was strong, I was happy and I was at peace.  So when I heard from the publisher that they were going to publish my book, well, it was lagniappe.  You know that perfect little French Cajun word, denoting a small, unexpected gift, an extra?

My labyrinth is such a blessing in my life.  I walk it nearly every day and every day it yields something small and unexpected – lagniappe.   In the spring, I put off weed-eating until the stones are almost overtaken by lush, persistent green growth.  I don’t want to cut it because I am too busy eating it!  Yes, the beautiful heart-shaped violet leaves with their purple flowers, the chickweed, whose name is Stellaria, for the  constellations of tiny star-shaped white flowers that float above the plant, the serrated whorls of dandelion greens, all nourish me.  The violets’ leaves are chopped and covered in boiling water to create an infusion, useful for moving lymph and soothing any inflammation in the body. The flowers are powerhouses of nutrition and love.  Flower love. Eat them in salads or infused in honey or vinegar.  Or make “violet sweets”, as my youngest daughter called the sugar coated blossoms we used to prepare for her childhood fairy parties.  Simply dip each blossom in egg white and then into white sugar and let them dry on waxed paper. The chickweed (leaves and flowers) and dandelion greens make their way into our salads every day while they’re flourishing. The bright yellow dandelion flowers, I infuse in warm sesame oil to make a healing salve.

I find that as I approach my crone years, I am happiest in the labyrinth of my life, gathering what comes to me unbidden, like the green “kindred”.  I feel less need to strive, to toil or to spin, and am content to simply receive with gratitude and humility, as Jesus allows with his comforting and powerful words in Matthew 6:28:

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. . . therefore do not be anxious. . .

And I spiral, day in and day out, around and around, sometimes close to the center, sometimes not so much, watched over by the old grandmother walnuts and embraced by the green kindred and always, always held in the loving hands of God.

Once, as I was leaving the center, returning to the entrance, I had a vision of another labyrinth, connected to this one in an unending infinity shaped spiral – a spirit labyrinth  – so comforting was this vision!  It never ends, eternity is ours!

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.

______________________

Angela Fordice Jordan is a writer. She is the fortunate mother of three grown daughters, amazing women, all. She lives in the mountains of western North Carolina with her husband, Bob, where she is working on a novel. She is savoring every bite and gathering joy.

Her website: http://afjordan.com
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Here at Middle Places we LOVE a good story. Everybody is making their way through the middle of something and we'd love to hear about yours. Please send an email to editor@middleplaces.com or check out our Contact page if you'd like to share your story with us and our readers.
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