Monday, November 13, 2006

Rocky Valley Labyrinths

Thursday November 9, 2006:

4:45 pm

The sun was low in the sky as we stood at the mouth of Rocky Valley. A stream bubbled briskly to our right as we made our way down the steep rock-strewn incline. Over the bridge we walked, up , over and down and along, stones shifting dangerously beneath our feet, treacherous mud tugging at our balance. But still we walked, purposeful and careful.

The sides of the valley seemed to rise to hold us in a safe embrace, funnelling us down towards the northern dancing sea, hinted at in the salt-tang of the breeze.

WE found the labyrinths on the rocks by the ruined mill. Many others had journeyed down before us, leaving their offerings on little ledges all around. Above us, coloured rags waved hello from tree branches and a pumpkin lantern grinned wickedly down at us.

We crouched beside the rocks and traced the journey made by another’s hand thousands of years before in the rock with our fingers. The grooves and ridges were smoothed by hundreds of other fingertips following the convolutions of another time. How many hands had touched and how fitting that I, of necessity so good with my fingertips should be here doing the same.

I sat down on a rock and wrapped my coat around me. I bowed my head and retreated into my hood to escape the gathering coldness of the days nearing end.

I dreamed I fell headlong into the labyrinth, spinning around and around turning back on myself and then about facing, till I found the middle. I was back in this valley, seated on the still stones watching the craftsman chiselling and furrowing the rock. His intensity of concentration caught me and held me in wrapped stillness.

Then the scene shifted to night, the deepest of darkness and a shadow, a presence ahead of me in the dark. I felt an immanence – something awe-filling. I bent low and knelt to it in reverence, suddenly feeling tears prick my eyes. Then I rose and returned to the labyrinth journeying out again to the rock and the present. Stirring and stretching, my companion said that night was falling and we needed to leave, if we were to find our way out. And so I rose and began the journey back with her.


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