discovering what I didn’t know that I didn’t know

Walking a Labyrinth

There’s something relaxing and meditative about walking a labyrinth. I’ve walked the gravel, dirt, brick, cement, and tiled labyrinths in six, maybe seven states here in the US. Most have been outside in the woods, behind churches, in front of churches, residing next to busy streets in San Francisco and Santa Fe. 

The most unusual one was in Cape Cod in a marshy area, paths laid out on a bed of large, dark green leaves. It was what I imagined the forest primeval would be like. After that walk I began a quest to learn more about the how, why, what, and definitely where of labyrinths. 

Thich Nhat Hanh’s Walking Meditation reminded me of “peace is every step” and Sig Lonegren’s labyrinths: ancient myths and modern uses has introduced me to kinds of labyrinths, lots of history, finger labyrinths, and labyrinth dancing. 


Labyrinths in Tucson

Tucson offers over 40 labyrinths to explore. My colleague Janet leads a full moon labyrinth walk at a local church. The Labyrinth Society Global Group has a Facebook page filled with locations, and posts of very creative labyrinths from historical sites to woven mini-labyrinths.  

During a conversation with a fellow lab lover, she said,“You know, there’s a labyrinth at Fort Lowell Park.”

Now I thought I knew all the offerings at Fort Lowell. But had neither heard of nor seen a labyrinth. This is one of those “I thought I knew what I knew” moments. So off my sister and I went to find the mysterious lab. We walked the entire park lake-picnic areas, ball field. No labyrinth. 

An Aquatic Labyrinth

Just past the ball field there was a grove of trees. “That would be a good spot.” No labyrinth, but down a small gully was a secret lagoon. I never knew this was here. A small pond fed by the creek surrounded by mesquite trees and the scrubby shrubs of Tucson. Silent …  except for the almost imperceptible swishing of tall grasses growing along the back. The low-pitched bellow of a bull frog was like a metronome added to mother nature’s grassy symphony. It felt so sacred we reverted to the silent language we had used as children during hide and seek. A touch on the arm pointing up to a bird, over and down in the water at a small school of fish. I know I don’t know names of aquatic plants but I know that I know the feeling of awe that comes when I’m in the presence of something quite special. 

All we could do–all we had to do–was walk around the secret lagoon, our aquatic labyrinth, then sit on the bank, and just be.

Next: Walking the Labyrinth at Redemptorist Retreat Center, an excerpt from Seedlings, Stories of Relationships

Ethel Lee-Miller blogs regularly about people, the power of words, and her writing life. She’s retired from professional writing gigs after 30 years of teaching, coaching, editing, and gathering writers to publicly share their work. She is the author of Thinking of Miller Place, and Seedlings, Stories of Relationships. In retirement she writes to inspire, to connect with folks, and for the pure enjoyment of it. Ethel enjoys sharing stories at Odyssey Storytelling, Zoom gatherings, and anywhere there’s a mic or a Zoom room.