Between the snow covered ridge of the Pontiac Hills and the shore of the Ottawa River lies a beautiful woodlot proudly owned by Wendy Ryan. She uses this small parcel of nature’s landscape to offer “Eco Therapy”, a gentle and supportive form of inquiry that ideally takes place in a natural setting.
Wendy guided me through her property pointing out open areas that could be good sites for a labyrinth. She was curious about how a labyrinth set on her land could be another tool in her work with clients. As we mused over the possibilities and the potential I offered to make a labyrinth for her, just by tracking a path in the snow with our snowshoes.
In an open area with the ancient rounded ridge in the background I centered myself and focused on a small dogwood shrub, which would become the centre of the labyrinth. Walking as if held or tethered by a string, I tramped a large circle around the dogwood. Turning, I circled back around. Stumbling in the drifts of snow I finally succumbed and fell into a deep drift. Awh…yes, the metaphors of the labyrinth came tumbling towards me. The path is uneven. Sometimes light and easy going but then without notice my footing gave way. Just like life, it’s not always smooth sailing. Picking myself up and reorienting I carried on towards the centre. It seemed as though we are almost there. We had almost achieved the goal, only too turn away again. This is the way of the labyrinth. Making a last turn, this time with the centre in sight, I recognized the flood of gratitude at the release of some degree of nervousness, which today was about performance. Can I actually trace this ancient path without string and measuring devices?
Once around the sweet red twigs of the Dogwood and then we retraced our steps making the path more defined and smooth for those who might follow next.
This photo is but a pale reminder of the place, the experience, the company, the air, the snow, the sun and the act of creating.
Thank you Wendy for the invitation to explore your piece of paradise through the path of the labyrinth.