Traversing the labyrinth at King’s House takes about 10 minutes, at a meditative pace.
Add three to four minutes if you decide to pull the odd weed or sprout along the way.
Which is to say: Making the trek in the heat of summer is a distinct experience compared to the dead of winter. And that’s at least part of the point of walking a labyrinth. It’s a familiar layout, reproduced in hundreds (if not thousands) of garden spots around the world. And yet, each time one walks, there’s something new to be grasped.
Such as crabgrass.
No one asked me to weed the rocky path, mind you. It’s just that these incidental incursions of vigorous vegetation offended my sense of order. So I decided to mix some weed-pullin’ into my prayer time.
Arriving at the center of the layout, I felt a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Even peace, perhaps — built on the sure knowledge that, having done my work on the way in…I could then make my way out unencumbered by botanical distractions.
It turns out I’m not quite the weed-picker I’d puffed myself up to be. Reversing course through the labyrinth, I spied sprout after sprout after sprout that I’d overlooked on the first half of my journey.
All in all, an amazing display when I paused to think about it. Despite the fabric weed-barrier that human gardeners had laid beneath the rocky path, still seeds had sprouted all across the uninviting terrain.
And it’s fitting, no doubt, that I encountered these hardy, determined life forms on the feast of the great Franciscan theologian, St. Bonaventure, who taught that non-intellectual creatures (like plants) show us vestiges of God.
They are God’s footprints, he said…leading us beyond where reason and understanding can go. And these vestiges are everywhere, I learned on my mid-summer trip through the labyrinth. In fact, you tend to miss a few even when you’re looking for them. Not always tidy. Not always aligned with our sense of order. But showing us something important about the full nature of the Holy One, nevertheless.
Let us remember that we are in the presence of the Holy and Merciful One.