Everything really came together this year for the 7th running of what has become an annual neighborhood event. There is something about the number 7. The seventh time in creating the candlelight labyrinth there was a certain charm and ease. Maybe because after 7 years the labyrinth experience is not new to the community. The initial angst and uncertainty of the early years has become a comfortable flow. Even the small children come up to me and say “Oh yeah, I know about labyrinths!”
We have never had so many volunteers, both official invited helpers, as well as unofficial volunteers who just happened by. The word goes out across the playground through the neighborhood kids and they come. With the strength of numbers we were able to set up the 65 foot diameter labyrinth with over 700 candles in paper bags in about an hour. The weather helped out as well. The chance of showers that was predicted did not happen. Some of our helpers were as young as three years in age and happy to see and learn the nuances of setting up the labyrinth. We borrowed a pop-up tent to serve as entranceway and Barb Roblin came by with hand-dyed streamers and glass jar lanterns which helped to transform the scene.
This year we choose to run this community gathering as a fundraiser for the new Cancer Survivor Centre, a project of the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation. We asked participants to bring a clear glass jar and to carry a candle for all those who walk with cancer.
As the evening progressed a collection of candles grew at the centre of the labyrinth, and it was a poignant demonstration of remembrance of family and friends who have walked with cancer. I imagine there would not have been a person who had not been touched by cancer in some way, even including the kids.
Our evening walk was led by a group of children who had spent the afternoon with Barb Roblin creating their own paper lanterns. It was enchanting to have a community led by a group of children…..how fitting in so many ways.
Perhaps next year we will set up the labyrinth on the grassy turf……..for a barefoot walk.