Flash (Non)Fiction: Labyrinth

I just got back from a week’s holiday on Vancouver Island, and I thought I’d post something a little different for a change.  Thanks to Sacred Circles, Healing Hands for the inspiration of the labyrinth at the Milner Gardens and Woodland, Qualicum Beach, BC.

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Labyrinth

It doesn’t fit my preconception of a labyrinth.

It’s about fifteen feet in diameter, a shallow muddy path worn into the brilliant green rainforest moss.  A few stones lie in the middle.

I stand beside it, my cynical eye tracing the route from entrance to centre. It’s probably a trick; a series of dead ends to confound those foolish enough to attempt it.

But it’s simple.  Around and back, a couple of reversals and a turn.

The sign says I may walk the labyrinth to meditate, experience feelings.  That there’s no “wrong” way to walk.

Why bother?  I already know the route and there’s nothing remarkable at the end.  The concentric paths are narrowly spaced.  Walking in circles would be a waste of time.  I’d look like an idiot.

I stand outside the labyrinth looking in.

Imprisoned by ego.  Unwilling to court ridicule.  Too old for magic.

I turn to walk away.

I stop.

Turn back.

This is silly.  It’s cold and cloudy and starting to rain.  It’s just a patch of dirt and grass.

And yet it holds me.

When did I become so jaded?

How often have I hovered on the outside, unwilling to step forward and risk disapproval?

My boots squish softly on the wet ground as I skirt around to the labyrinth’s entrance.  I mustn’t reject the established way.

Compelled to the path, I place my feet carefully within the narrow tracks, walking back and forth; around and around like a fool who can’t see that the destination is only a few feet away.

But it’s not about the destination.

I complete the final turn and stand looking down at the stones on the ground.  Just a few ordinary stones.  No discernible pattern.  No reward.

But it’s not about a reward.

Freed, I step lightly, respectfully, straight across the labyrinth.  I place my feet on its paths, but I am no longer constrained by its direction.

I stand contemplating my journey for a moment before I turn, smiling, to rejoin the world.

19 Comments

Filed under Flash Fiction, Life, Writing

19 responses to “Flash (Non)Fiction: Labyrinth

  1. How did I miss when you posted this? I love it!

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  2. Hi Diane,

    What is it that always compels us to seek the end of the labyrinths in our lives? What could we do to accept the labyrinth for what it is and look at possible outcomes within?

    Loved your post.

    Shakti

    Like

  3. Oh…labyrinths are also known as walking prayer…I think, but that’s what it means to me! And you are right..it’s the journey and not the destination that counts…walking towards your centre and back out again…radiating from the center! It’s like the mandalas…in a way 🙂
    Thanks for sharing and loved the way you wrote it 🙂

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  4. Hmm. My first comment appears not to have taken. (Why do WordPress blogs hate me?)

    Anyway, I said your post is lovely. And that I’ve been hesitating about something today, and I think you just helped me decide. 🙂

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    • Thanks – I’m glad if I helped. And you’re right, WordPress apparently hates you. I just retrieved your first comment out of spam… again. I hope you won’t take it personally – my blog might hate you, but I don’t! 🙂

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  5. Linda Grimes

    Lovely. Thank you. I’ve been hesitating about something today, and I think you just helped me decide. 🙂

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  6. The word labyrinth has a mystical feel to it. If you get lost in a labyrinth, it’s like taking a journey. If you get lost in a maze, you’re just a doofus.

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    • LOL! You’re right – whenever I heard/read the word “labyrinth” I thought of this deep, mysterious, convoluted thing. That’s why I was instantly suspicious of the simplicity. ‘Cause I wouldn’t want to look like a doofus. 🙂

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    • I love your analysis of labyrinths vs. mazes, idiotprufs!

      And Diane, I really enjoyed this piece. Hope you had a great holiday. Bet you have a bunch of work waiting for you now. 😉

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      • Thank you! Yes, I’m slowly digging my way out – but I cheated on my holiday and worked for a few hours every morning, so it’s not too bad. I have a love/hate relationship with my mobile computer connection…

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  7. My daughter lives in Victoria! It’s beautiful there, right?
    I love this poem. I think all of that hesitation, the second guessing, etc. is something we might regret one day. Down the road our perspective will change, no doubt, and we’ll wonder why we were so cautious.
    Great job!!!

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  8. raeme67

    I hesitate at times, too. What are we afraid of?
    I loved the writing, how talented you are!

    Like

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