I had in mind an altogether different blog post for this installment.

But then something happened to me today.

On my early morning run through my neighborhood I noticed a sign….

Mud Day sign at the Frenchy's Park labyrinth in Santa Fe. Photo by Dawn Chandler.

I like labyrinths. In fact I’ve even written about labyrinths before on this blog, about ten years ago.

But as far as labyrinths go, I admit that I’ve always thought the dried mud one at my local park to be a sorry excuse for one. Twenty years old it’s rarely used (that I’ve noticed). Neglected, dusty and weedy, it looks forlorn. I’ve gone by it nearly every day for five years, but rarely have I been tempted to walk it; it’s just never seemed appealing there in the dirt. I’ve hardly even photographed it — and that tells you something.

And yet … sometimes when the sun is low an the earth is aglow, the labyrinth transforms into something nearly beautiful. Kind of like Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree.
And the peace flags that hang in the simple, rugged awning… Well, they beckon me with my camera frequently.

Peace flags at the Frenchy's Park labyrinth in Santa Fe. Photo by Dawn Chandler.

So when I saw that sign this morning as I ran by I thought, Maybe I should go help them… Maybe if I work on the labyrinth, I’ll care more about it.

Ohhhhhhh, But…. I had so many things to do today… My long list included painting, and computer work and painting and household chores and painting and errands and painting.

Yes. But, I don’t get out and volunteer nearly enough.
And I don’t really know my Santa Fe community very well.
This would be such a great chance to be involved, to help out, to be a good neighbor.

BUT…. I finally had a day in which I could paint ALL MORNING! Something I was planning on and VERY eager to do!

So NO. I would stay home and work in my studio as I had planned and as I had looked forward to doing.

First though I needed to get out of my running clothes and take a shower.

And then one of those better-angel-voices in my head chimed in: Before you change out of those smelly fitness clothes and get cleaned up, why not just run down to the park and just help them out for a little while. 30 minutes! An hour MAX! THEN come back and clean up. THEN paint.

I filled my thermos with coffee, grabbed a water bottle and work gloves and drove back over to the park.

.

..

….

I returned home four hours later.

Worn out. Satisfied. Blissful.

And with a new appreciation for our beautiful earthen labyrinth.

What had I done during those 4 hours?

I shoveled dirt.
I hauled water.
I tamped mud
— all to the vibrant rhythm of a live and joyous marimba band.
And most important of all, I met and worked side by side with my neighbors.

Volunteers working on remudding the Frenchy's Park labyrinth in Santa Fe. Photo by Dawn Chandler.
Live marimba music to enliven the remudding work on the Frenchy's Park labyrinth in Santa Fe. Photo by Dawn Chandler.

And when we were finished with our labor, I gathered with them in a circle around an earthen heart shaped by caring hands, and with a wish for peace joined them in lining the heart with stones.

Volunteers and muscians gather for Mud Day at the Frenchy's Park labyrinth in Santa Fe. Photo by Dawn Chandler.
Neighbors gather stones to place around the earthen heart at the Frenchy's Park labyrinth in Santa Fe. Photo by Dawn Chandler.
Neighbors gather stones to place around the earthen heart at the Frenchy's Park labyrinth in Santa Fe. Photo by Dawn Chandler.

We then nourished ourselves with conversation over a potluck picnic.

And at 1:00pm, as three harpists under a nearby cottonwood tree strummed magic from their strings….

Harpists serenade the walking of the Frenchy's Park labyrinth in Santa Fe on Mud Day. Photo by Dawn Chandler.

and as our fellow labyrinth walkers in the Midwest of our country were winding down their silent walk, we joined thousands of others across the mountain states in walking in silence.

And when we concluded our walk, sojourners on the west coast stepped out together on their own paths.

Neighbors gatherto walk the Frenchy's Park labyrinth in Santa Fe. Photo by Dawn Chandler.
Neighbors gather to walk the Frenchy's Park labyrinth in Santa Fe. Photo by Dawn Chandler.

For it turns out today — the first Saturday in May — is World Labyrinth Day. And when we walked the circuitous path in silence together, we joined thousands of other labyrinth walkers across the Earth, walking for peace.

On this day we are united
with past pilgrims,
current sojourners,
and future seekers.

We invite this labyrinth walk
to un-strange us from ourselves,
un-alienate us from one another here,
and un-wall us from fellow pilgrims far away:
let all who truly seek
truly join.

From “Meeting the World in My Walk”
by Mary Ann Wamhoff of Santa Fe.

The earthen heart at the Frenchy's Park labyrinth in Santa Fe. Photo by Dawn Chandler.

I learned today that this labyrinth revival & walk in my local park was sponsored by the Labyrinth Resource Group of Santa Fe who encourage the creation and use of labyrinths as a path of healing, inspiration, and peace — a community I wasn’t even aware of!

Oh, but I am now. And so very grateful to be.

May the Fourth be with you!

Peace flags at the Frenchy's Park labyrinth in Santa Fe. Photo by Dawn Chandler.

Want to walk a labyrinth? Find one near you here.

___________________________________________________________

Thank you for reading my blog and appreciating my musings.
If you enjoy my posts and know others who might enjoy them too, please feel free to share this.
~ Dawn Chandler

You can find more of my stories, insights and art here on my website, www.taosdawn.com, as well as on Instagram and Facebook. Peruse and shop for my art here, and sign up for Tuesday Dawnings weekly deep breath of uplift & insight here.