Monday, December 10, 2012


The Crossnore Labyrinth (source)

Did you read Felder Rushing's column on Friday?  I love labyrinths.  There's a large one in Crossnore, NC that I visited one day with a group of my Blowing Rock neighbors.  We made a day of the trip and viewed the Ben Long fresco, visited the gorgeous Presbyterian church, the weaving rooms at Crossnore, and the shops there.  We had lunch and we walked the labyrinth on the grounds of the Crossnore School.  (This is a wonderful residential school for children in need - read about it here.)  Our special purpose in walking the labyrinth was to hold up our friend, Debbie, who was undergoing treatment for breast cancer at the time.  The good news is that Debbie recovered and her health is fine.  Ironically, one of our group, Martha, died six months later from breast cancer that was diagnosed too late.

Martha was a great lady, a prolific and thoughtful reader, a fabulous gardener, art collector, and hostess.  I still miss her.  Remembering the wonderful day we had at Crossnore, I located a small clearing on my property and determined to make a labyrinth in her memory.

For Christmas that year I asked for a labyrinth design from The Labyrinth Company. (You can certainly lay one out by yourself; I just found this to be much easier, though more expensive.)  I chose the Mini ClassicalTM from their Garden TemplatesTM designs.

Mini Classical
I had a small area and, after some clearing, this one fit perfectly!  We leveled the area as best we could (lots of roots!) and spread a layer of builders sand.

Then we laid out the template.

Each of the sheets is marked with its position and the labyrinth lines are printed on.  You basically match up the lines and secure the sheets, which are landscape fabric, to the ground with u-shaped pins.
Then you start laying whatever border material you've chosen.  We decided on stacked stone.

This clearing is in the midst of pine trees and rhododendron, so I just went to Lowe's and bought several bales of pine straw for path cover.  Here are my handyman, Sherman, and his helper laying the straw.

And here it is, finished:

We had a dedication ceremony and invited our neighbors.  I had a sign made up for "Martha's Walk" and we took a few moments to remember and reminisce about her.

The labyrinth is at the back of our property and is used by our friends and neighbors for quiet meditation.  Sherman built some steps from the street on that side so that folks can come enjoy the quiet without walking through the backyard, which I felt might make some people uncomfortable.

Every time we're in Blowing Rock, I spend time in the labyrinth.  I especially like to be there early in the morning as the sun comes up.  It fills my heart.

I have to tell you a funny story about Sherman.  He has a gravelly voice and a slow, mountain drawl.  As we left the stone company after choosing the stone, he said (and I wish you could hear this), "Suzanne, you need to save your receipts so you can deduct this on your income taxes."  Ever being the CPA, I replied, "No, Sherman, this is a personal item.  I can't deduct it."  He thought for a minute, then said, "Then give them receipts to me - I'll use 'em!"

Where are your favorite labyrinths?  Let me know in the comments.  In my next post, I'll tell you about my neighborhood's quilt squares!

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