Go walk The Labyrinth.
It’s on the lawn of the Laughing Heart Lodge,
just a 10-minute stroll from your house.
Though your heart is seldom laughing these days,
the Labyrinth may bring it some passing amusement.
Resist the dirty building or cabin detour.
You don’t need it.
The swig may briefly numb your new reality
but liquor is a deceitful mistress,
picking your pocket while stroking your hair.
During your walk to the lodge, you will talk to someone you know,
or meet a stranger, maybe a through-hiker or retreat guest
that you will befriend through your playful sociability.
And you both will need that exchange, a moment that is
reproduced 50 times a day in Hot Springs,
maybe more if you’re walking the streets.
The Labyrinth is a spiral stone pathway with a single entry designed
for pedestrians to meander their way to the center.
Of course you could walk right over the rocks and save yourself
some time, high-stepping to the center of the spiral–
but that would be missing the point.
You’re supposed to walk the whole thing.
And there are times when you think,
“Why am I even bothering to do this?”
It does seem pointless.
But it’s like grief: It’s long, painful, sometimes hardly worth the trouble,
with a questionable ending.
Will it even be worth it? What is the payoff?
But you have to do the steps.
You have to make the journey and do the work.
You need to pay attention to the walk and trust
that at the end you will be centered
and somehow more at peace.
There’s likely a good description of the Labyrinth in the lodge’s brochure,
a deeper meaning, a more convincing why,
but the fact that someone arranged all those rocks into that dwindling orbit
is reason enough to go mosey down the path.
I walked over with the kids and they both took the shortcut–
they stepped right over the stones in a beeline to the middle,
bored with the long circular stroll, unimpressed with the design
and unaware of any underlying point.
They are new to all this–just beginning their own walks–
and it’s impossible to guess where their paths will lead them.
And I know we both want to watch them
find their way as long as we can.
All we can do is go until we stop
and encourage each other’s shaky progress.
I still toast our efforts.