It was February 28, and we (Ted, Carol, Ana, LeiLani and Milo) were hustling and bustling on the ranch in preparation for the labyrinth work party on Leap Day. We were putting all the final touches on the labyrinth foundation. The anticipation was building, and for the most part, things were flowing gracefully. This project had been months in the making. We had pitched the idea to Paul Kaye and John Morton in September. We got all green lights, had settled on the location, picked out materials, and estimated that we could do it for $5,000. When we announced the project at a Minister’s Meeting in LA, people responded with interest, enthusiasm and donations. We fundraised our target within weeks, and similarly, when we proposed a work party to install the labyrinth, it filled up quickly.
Now it was the day before the work party, and we had a 40-foot diameter pad leveled, compacted, and finally up to my standards. After picking where the labyrinth entrance would be, we called on Pythagoras and what are known as Pythagorean triples (specifically 9, 12, and 15) to find the perpendicular diameter. By this point, the sun had set. We had 25 volunteers coming up early the following morning, and we needed to be ready. The main thing left to do was spray out the pattern. We took a break for dinner, and then, with my truck lights and a flashlight, after upwards of 14 hours of working already that day, LeiLani and I sprayed out the wonderful juxtaposition of simplicity and complexity that is the Chartres’ labyrinth design.
When I walk labyrinths, I appreciate how I can simply place one foot in front of the other along the path to get to the center. What a metaphor for life. The path seems so complicated, and yet, this basic technique of staying present and moving forward is all that’s required to complete it. There’s no need to see or understand the bigger picture. Spraying out the pattern was similar. We started with the 12 concentric circles. The outermost circle had a radius of 20 feet, and the innermost had 3. That left 17 feet for the remaining ten circles and, with basic arithmetic, we determined the appropriate radii for equal spacing. Then we only needed to keep track of where the breaks happened for each circle. It went quickly.
On Leap Day 2020, we got to see the labyrinth in the daylight for the first time, and it looked perfect! The rest of the work party was pure joy.
The volunteers showed up ready to work, and we were on our way. We had rock smashers, mosaic designers, granite diggers, and flagstone suppliers. It was delightful to get to watch the labyrinth come into being. Everyone added their unique contribution. Janet and Lawrence Caminite provided a delicious lunch, and Makeda and Chloe shared a lovely song with us. We took a leisurely lunch, but then it was back to work. The labyrinth came together quickly at that point. By 5:00 pm, the labyrinth was (mostly) done. All the rock was laid, and there was just a little work left to set the remaining stones with mortar. The Santa Barbara community joined us for a wonderful potluck dinner coordinated by Cindy Siegert.
By 8:00 pm, the ranch was quiet again. Our local barnyard owl was calling out his song of love, “Hu Hu Hu.” LeiLani and I were beaming ear to ear after a long but successful day, and Windermere had a beautiful, community-built labyrinth.
We invite you to come up and walk the labyrinth. To learn more about visiting Windermere or to become a donor, visit www.iiwp.org.