Saturday, April 27, 2019

Sunrise Labyrinth Walk on Earth Day

I made sure to get up very early on Earth Day in order to get to the Carleton Place Community Labyrinth in time for our 6 AM sunrise walk.  The moment I got outside I was treated to a view of the beautiful waning full moon surrounded by a soft white glow. And upon arrival at the labyrinth I enjoyed the sounds of bird song all around me. I quietly walked around the labyrinth on the contemplation ring as I prepared for my walk.
A view of the waning full moon from the labyrinth on Earth Day.

The labyrinth cat circles the Celtic Pashcal candle several times and reaches out to the light.
As I was walking, three others arrived and started walking the labyrinth at their own pace. The labyrinth cat also appeared and after greeting me, went to inspect the glowing candle. We gathered at the standing stones at entrance to the labyrinth after the walk and had a wonderful conversation and discovered interesting connections. Here is one of the poems that was recited to close this very special walk.

 Packing for the Future: Instructions by Lorna Crozier
Take the thickest socks.
Wherever you're going
you'll have to walk.

There may be water.
There may be stones.
There may be high places
you cannot go without
the hope socks bring you,
the way they hold you
to the earth.

At least one pair must be new,
must be as blue as a wish
hand-knit by your mother
in her sleep.

Take a leather satchel,
a velvet bag and an old tin box--
a salamander painted on the lid.

This is to carry that small thing
you cannot leave. Perhaps the key
you've kept though it doesn't fit
any lock you know,
the photograph that keeps you sane,
a ball of string to lead you out
though you can't walk back
into that light.

In your bag leave room for sadness,
leave room for another language.

There may be doors nailed shut.
There may be painted windows.
There may be signs that warn you
to be gone. Take the dream
you've been having since
you were a child, the one
with open fields and the wind

Mistrust no one who offers you
water from a well, a songbird's feather,
something that's been mended twice.
Always travel lighter
than the heart.

~ from What the Living Won't Let Go (McClelland & Stewart Inc, 1999)

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Pilgrimage Notes and the Yellow Arrows Project (Part 4)

Part 1
Part 2
Continued from Part 3
Day three of my pilgrimage walk dawned.  Today I would be walking 20.4 km from Masson to Thurso, Quebec.  My walking group was made up of people who had very different approaches to their pilgrimage journey. Young Nathaniel left first, very kindly carrying my mosaic supplies with him - to help lighten my load. His goal was to complete the walk as quickly as possible, at a 6 km per hour pace.  He reached our next overnight destination, l'église St-Jean-l'Évangeliste, by 10 am that morning.  Isabelle and her friend left next, following the high level instructions on their phones, they wanted to walk quickly - and in doing so - missed the notes about the rest stop à la ferme Val-Champs.
It was nice that my other fellow pilgrim Jacques and I were on the same wavelength - we were not in a rush and were open to experience whatever drew our attention along the way. We arrived at our destination around 6 pm that day. Following are some of the highlights from along the way...
We see a Canada Goose and white goose swimming together.
  • We see a Canada Goose and white goose hanging around together and dub them "the odd couple" 
  • While walking through Buckingham - we are accompanied by three women on their way to the gym - they wish us a "beun Camino" 
    The yellow arrow marks the way to the rest stop at the Val-Champs Farm.
  • We had a very special rest stop at the Val-Champs Farm. Our hostess served us a strawberry drink, tea, hard-boiled eggs and chocolate and we rested for an hour or two. We played with her silver tabby kitten. And chatted about living simply and fully and enjoying retirement. We really enjoyed the "deep dot of time" that day. A true pilgrim experience!
    We enjoy a special cider tasting at an artisinal Ciderie.
  • We stopped at the Scottish cemetery, went to see if the Violin teacher was at home and went to Verger Croque Pomme for a cider tasting.
Sadly my right ankle started to bother me through the night and by the next morning I was hobbling and with great difficulty decided to stop walking. I had an inflamed tendon and needed to rest and do physio for it to get better and stronger. My first reaction was sheer disappointment, while I was told to have no expectations going on this long walk, I found that I had expected to finish it and get to Montreal.

I went through a period of feeling very sorry for myself. Then I had an epiphany! I would still honor the rest of the time that I would have been walking and stay on pilgrimage. I could use this time in my studio to finished the yellow mosaic arrows that I had been carrying with me. I joyfully began puttering in my studio. And as I calmed down and started to create a wonderful idea occurred to me. I would head out on a journey and visit some places and people I had wanted to get to on my journey. And I would deliver finished yellow mosaic arrows along the way, especially to my fellow walkers.

In hindsight - this day gave me the sense of closure that I needed - to let go of any expectations I might have had - and to truly appreciate every aspect of my pilgrimage experience.
I would deliver finished yellow Camino mosaic arrows to my fellow walkers.
I walk the grass labyrinth at the Ashram near Montebello. I am filled with peace at the beauty I find there.

I leave a gift for my fellow walkers at the door of their residence at the Sanctuaire Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes in Rigaud.

My fellow walkers with their Camino mosaic arrows at the end of their walk. They send me a message to let me know that I was with them in spirit every step of the way!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

World Labyrinth Day PLUS Kick-off 200 Labyrinth Walks for CP200

Join us on Saturday May 4th, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. as we officially open the Carleton Place Community labyrinth for the season.  We will "Walk as One at 1 PM" in celebration of World Labyrinth Day. And to help celebrate and honour Carleton Place’s 200th Anniversary – we will be launching “200 Labyrinth Walks for CP200”.

Whenever someone walks the CP Community Labyrinth from May 4th to September 13th in 2019, they will be encouraged to record their participation. We are hoping to meet our goal of 200 labyrinth walks by Friday, September 13th, 2019, and will celebrate our achievement during our annual “Light up the Labyrinth” event.

If you are new to the labyrinth experience, this Saturday walk will be a perfect introduction for you. Information about the history, benefits and unique aspects of the labyrinth will be available onsite.

World Labyrinth Day, declared in 1998 by The Labyrinth Society, brings people together globally to recognize the labyrinth as a symbol and tool for healing and peace.  This will be the 11th annual World Labyrinth Day, as we join individuals or groups around the globe who will walk their local labyrinths at 1:00 pm in their local time zones.  This world-wide event included walks in over 35 countries last year, and it is estimated that more than 5,000 people participated.

Labyrinths exist in many forms, in places as diverse as Peru, Iceland, Egypt, France, and the United Kingdom. There are more than 4,000 labyrinths active today. Some labyrinths have been built on private lands, while others, like the Carleton Place Community Labyrinth, have been created as a public space for all to enjoy. 

The Community Labyrinth is located at the corner of George and Baines Streets, beside the Carleton Place & Beckwith Heritage Museum. The labyrinth was built in 2010, and construction was made possible by the Town of Carleton Place, individual, business & community sponsors, and a Trillium Foundation grant.

For more information contact:
Christine Hume: or 613-859-2136