Locals traveling ‘old’ path searching for new solutions

Tue, 07/27/2021 - 2:00pm

    Man has searched for answers since the beginning of time to perplexing questions. An early tool was the labyrinth, a outdoor place constructed full of intricate passageways and blind alleys. And locals, still searching for solutions to modern problems, now have their own labyrinth.

    In 2019, Edgecomb Community Church built a small labyrinth. It was inspired by Lauren Artress’ book “Walking a Sacred Path: Rediscovering the Labyrinth As a Spiritual Practice.” Pastor Kate Pinkham had read several of Artress’ books and believed a small labyrinth behind the church would help people find answers to life’s perplexing questions. Pinkham described the labyrinth as a tool used by ancient cultures for self-reflection.

    Pinkham said there is no right or wrong way to use the labyrinth. She described labyrinths as a universal symbol used by cultures with no connection or understanding how other people lived, but that still developed them as a “universal symbol” for reflection for over 4,000 years. And in modern times, a society filled with self-help books, medical research and communication devices, the labyrinth is making a comeback.

    “People are using them for quieting their minds, praying and meditating,” she said. “I see it as a way to speak to God, but others may use it to become more in touch with nature or something else. The answers may come right away, later, or not at all, but it’s an opportunity to quiet your mind down and reflect.”

    Pinkham was assisted in building a rock labyrinth in the church’s back lot by Sue and Tom Sikes. The project finished just prior to the coronavirus outbreak which scuttled any plans for use in 2020. So once the restrictions on public gatherings lifted this year, Pinkham began scheduling walks. In June, the church dedicated the labyrinth to the town, and a second event was held June 21, summer solstice.

    The third organized labyrinth walk was held July 23 with five people participating. The previous two had nearly a dozen, but last week’s had five. Pinkham believes a heavy downpour which preceded the walk probably kept people away. Judy McQuillen lives on Taylor Drive located near the church. She walks the labyrinth often and participated in the two earlier events. At her third public walk, she described the labyrinth as “looking convoluted,” but in actuality was pretty simple. “There is one way in and one way out. So it’s pretty easy to go through,” McQuillen said. “It really calms you down. It’s very peaceful.”

    Christine Correa also lives in the neighborhood and frequently walks the labyrinth. For her, the walk is an opportunity to connect with nature. “It’s fun,” Correa said. “It’s an opportunity to talk with the Earth, and get in touch with my thoughts.”

    Pinkham said the labyrinth is open to the public from dawn until dusk. She is planning on more organized events with one in September. “It will be darker then and better for walking due to the softer light which creates a better atmosphere,” she said. There are also plans for a labyrinth mat for winter use in the parking lot or inside.

    The church is at 15 Cross Point Road.