Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘labyrinth

Peacefully Walking

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Wintervale Ranch and Retreat Center hosted a World Labyrinth Day event yesterday and participated in the Walk as One at 1:00, a global wave of taking steps for peace.

Family, friends, friends of friends, neighbors, and previous property owners arrived throughout the afternoon on a beautiful May day to trek the roundabout path and ponder.

One participant mentioned she had spent 35 minutes striding to the center and back out again, adding that stopping to touch things may have lengthened the duration of her journey.

It was a delightful departure from my norm to see the labyrinth energized with so many souls walking together. I spend a lot of solo time in that garden.

Cyndie worked her magic in the kitchen to fill the counter with a wide variety of fresh-baked caramel rolls to provide both energy and incentive for walking. I was careful to avoid eating a great big serving, but by sampling bite-size nibbles from the plain, frosted, with raisins, and finally, a pecan covered version throughout the entire day, I’m sure I successfully obliterated the balance of my healthy food pyramid for the week.

After the labyrinth, the chickens and their coop became a prominent attraction for visitors, followed by a stop to see how the horses were doing.

It was an invigorating day. As always, our belief was confirmed. As fabulous a place to live as this is, it is never in full spectacular bloom until guest arrive to launch the ultimate greatness.

Thank you to all of you who found your way here yesterday. It made for a wonderful mix of energized peacefulness.

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Written by johnwhays

May 7, 2017 at 8:23 am

Herd Reunited

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I am very happy to be able to report that Dezirea has made enough progress toward good health that Cyndie decided to allow her back with our other horses. In fact, to celebrate the milestone, Cyndie let all 4 of them step out onto the green grass for their first brief taste of the spring.

We have now arrived at the difficult period when we meter out their minutes of grazing on the lush spring growth. In years past, the strict constraints on the time we allowed them were merely applied to ease their digestive systems into the change. Then we came to realize that they don’t work hard enough to justify the rich diet full-time.

We have to limit their grazing most of the year in order to keep them from becoming overweight.

Cyndie has purchased some muzzles in hope of giving the horses a chance to roam the pasture without over-eating. They can eat through the muzzle, but it takes a bit more time and effort. It will slow down their intake.

Since they are not out on the pasture full-time, they’ve been eating hay longer into the warm months. Last night we visited a new local source of small bales that Cyndie found through an ad. We filled the back of the pickup with as much as it would hold and hustled back to the ranch, quickly serving up a few test bites to the horses.

They loved it! That was a relief.

Hauling hay at the end of the day was a lot of work, because we were already fatigued from continued sprucing of the labyrinth, mowing the lawn, re-hanging the vines across the path out of the back yard, spending time with chickens out of the coop, and turning the composting manure piles.

Today will be a much more leisurely day. It’s World Labyrinth Day! We are expecting visitors around noon, so after a few small chores of preparation in the morning, we will be lounging, snacking, visiting, and walking for peace throughout the afternoon.

I’m looking forward to having the afternoon off.

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Almost Ready

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This is our fifth spring of reworking our Rowcliffe Forest Garden Labyrinth after the abuses that winter throws at it. It’s got me questioning our decision to make it as large as we did. Aesthetically, it is just the way I envisioned, so that’s very rewarding. The downside however, is that maintenance ends up being a VERY large chore.

Here’s something I don’t get: The freeze/thaw cycles tend to push rocks up in the farmer’s cultivated fields, where they are totally unwanted. The rocks we positioned to define the circling labyrinth path are all moving down and getting swallowed by the earth around them.

I spent time re-balancing the double-stacked rocks at the U-turns last night. There were areas of the paths where I could barely find the rocks because they had settled so deep in the soft turf. My long-term goal was to keep adding rocks every year, to form little rock wall barriers defining the trail.

At this point, it is more like starting from scratch every spring, trying to define the pathway from almost nothing.

I’m probably exaggerating a little bit, because after a reasonable effort last night, we’ve gotten close to feeling completely ready for tomorrow’s big event.

World Labyrinth Day is Saturday and we have opened up our 11-circuit Chartes style labyrinth to host visitors in the “Walk as One at 1:00” event. There is going to be a global wave of peace flowing tomorrow afternoon.

If you don’t make it out to Wintervale to join us, pause wherever you are during the one o’clock hour and send some peace out in the world.

Then take a moment to absorb the wave flowing along.

Namaste.

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Taking Precautions

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A few steps forward, and one giant leap back from spring. It is interesting how different 36° (F) can feel depending on whether arriving to it from above or below. When it has been below freezing for months, a day that reaches 36° can feel dramatically warm.

When it has recently been 70° outside, a dip down to 36° feels despicably cold. Same temperature, different perspective.

This morning feels despicable.

Up until now, I have been purposefully avoiding paying attention to the status of the tree we transplanted to the center of the labyrinth last fall. We’ve failed enough times before –three to be exact– that I’m attempting to avoid getting excited too soon.

A couple of days ago, Cyndie texted a picture of the many new leaves that have emerged. Time for my denial to end. With the threat of sub-freezing temperatures predicted, we felt it necessary to cover the sapling for protection from the cold.

It was a challenge, because the sprouts are so delicate that some dropped simply from the abuse of my clumsy attempt to get the sheet up and over the top.

Regardless, I feel better to have tried protecting it, than if we’d done nothing. I’ve watched too many of our other small trees with delicate early growth wither and die in the past two years when warm spring days were followed by hard freezes.

I’m hoping this tree turns out to be as robust as the ten chicks we ordered through the mail have proved to be.

I may be trying to protect myself from disappointment, but I won’t give up without doing everything I can to improve the odds of success. With the cold temperatures, the saturated wetness now, and the likely dry spells to come, we have our work cut out for us for many months ahead.

Here’s hope that our precautions pay off in every way.

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Written by johnwhays

April 28, 2017 at 6:00 am

Labyrinth Love

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Did you know there is a World Labyrinth Day? Maybe you didn’t even know there was such a thing as a Labyrinth Society. Well, there is, and Cyndie knows all about both. She has been a powerful force in guiding the creation of our precious Rowcliffe Forest Garden Labyrinth at Wintervale, and now she is sharing it with the world of labyrinth lovers around the globe.

Over the weekend she added our site to the Labyrinth Society’s locator database. You can look us up here.

In addition, Cyndie has written an article for Minnesota Women’s Press that was published in their April issue, to express the transformative power of walking the path of a labyrinth. If you follow that link to read her article, don’t be alarmed by the “Edina” address in her bio-line. She offered her parent’s address to align with their Minnesota focus, and that is the one they preferred. It’s not fake news, just an alternate fact.

At the end of that article, there is a paragraph describing World Labyrinth day. We are planning to participate in the “Walk as One at 1pm” wave of peace around the globe by inviting guests to join us at our labyrinth.

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If you are interested in joining us on May 6th, make sure to let us know in advance, so we can be properly prepared.

In the off-hand situation we get an overwhelming number of participants, I’ll just have Cyndie pull out the portable labyrinth she made with canvas and duct tape. I don’t recall if I posted a picture of the finished product already, but here it is on the day she and her LaLas (Labyrinth Ladies; see her article) finished it in the sanctuary of a church.

Come share the love of labyrinths and join in a global wave of peace. It will be transformative!

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Written by johnwhays

April 3, 2017 at 6:00 am

Mobile Labyrinth

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First off, let’s just get this out of the way. You are all welcome to be my valentine, but I need to ask you to hold off on the chocolate candy hearts. My will-power is hardly robust enough to withstand that amount of sweet gesturing of love. Happy Valentine’s Day! I offer plenty of my low-sugar love to all who happen to read here today.

dscn5792eOn Sunday, before huddling in front of a rare MN Wild hockey game broadcast over the airwaves followed by a Grammy Awards broadcast that was entertaining to a degree, but failed —for me— to live up to the hyped level of “Music’s Greatest Night,” Cyndie and I braved a colder than expected morning to work on outlining a labyrinth on canvas.

Since our driveway was now clear of snow and ice up by the house, it became potential space where we could spread out this project that Cyndie has been planning.

Before we laid out the canvas, I used a push-broom to clear the loose grit away. If our neighbor still bothers to watch our every move, I can’t imagine what he must think about my obsession with cleaning the top of our driveway the last few days.dscn5793e

I had already done advance calculations to figure out how wide each lane could be, given the total area of canvas and the number of circuit loops in the design Cyndie chose. Our task of the day was simply to identify and mark the center point from which the rest of the circles will be referenced, and then place a few “tic” marks to place the lanes.

It is all pretty straight forward with a minor exception of the two lanes that become the routes to enter from the outside and the path that reaches the center.

We spent a fair amount of time laying out enough skeleton lines to define the potentially confusing part, leaving the finishing touch of just laying duct tape along the consistent circle of each lane for another time.

dscn5796eWhile Cyndie measured and ripped pieces of tape off the roll, I sat on the canvas absorbing the thorough cold of the pavement beneath while holding the tape measure dead center and calling out location metrics. I could see her hands slowing down from the cold as the minutes turned into hours.

There are a lot of tedious steps involved, but it was a labor of love. After each step we became inspired to go a little further to lock in the design for her to finish later with friends.

When we finally quit and hustled inside to warm up, we discovered the day hadn’t warmed up at all. The temperature was still in the 30s (F), and with the brisk wind, it became obvious why it felt so much colder than we were expecting.

In our haste to pack the project up and get inside, I failed to capture a photo of our final progress. I’ve informed Cyndie that she’s responsible now for getting a picture of her mobile labyrinth when it’s finally completed.

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Written by johnwhays

February 14, 2017 at 7:00 am

Which Way

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In the months following Cyndie’s knee replacement procedure at the end of November, I admittedly neglected the labyrinth. Contrary to previous winters, this year I haven’t bothered to walk the path each time it snowed. On Sunday, Cyndie mentioned that she wanted to use the labyrinth again. It was time to tread that pattern.

It wasn’t as easy to execute the proper turns as I had hoped. With the rocks mostly buried, I needed to start from both the outer entrance heading in, and then from the center, heading out, before I figured out precisely where I needed to be.

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Once I had figured out the correct route, as we walked the path and chatted I began to notice a lift in my spirits. Cyndie pointed out something I had completely overlooked: she was walking on the snowshoes with her new knee. It was a noteworthy achievement.dscn5770e

I also discovered something else that was occurring.

My neglect of the labyrinth for the previous months had been intentional, giving me one less thing to tend to during Cyndie’s convalescence. During those months, I felt a small sense of pleasure over not spending any energy on it. What I didn’t realize was, ignoring the labyrinth was contributing to my feelings of hopelessness.

There was this duality again. (See comments with Jim on my post “Being Me.”) I didn’t want to have the labyrinth, and I did want to have it. Both feelings were present at the same time.

It feels like having Cyndie and the labyrinth both functional again is helping me to find my way once more.

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Written by johnwhays

February 7, 2017 at 7:00 am