We built the labyrinth in 2001. I have written several posts about that, but I think the description in this post is probably one of the better ones.
Don’t get me wrong, now, but when I conceived the idea of having a labyrinth on the place I really had no idea what I was getting into! It really is a lot of work, especially when you realize the maintenance requirements. If I had it to do over again, I might decide on a different plan of attack. The outline in rocks was fairly easy to accomplish. Keeping it so that people can walk the path is not so easy.
We mow the paths on a regular basis using a 21″ manual mower. This is a size that is not all that popular here in the Midwest, where people tend to have acres of lawn to mow and do it on big John Deere riding lawnmowers. I imagine if I lived in a city the little mower might be more readily available. At any rate, we quickly learned that trying to weed eat the rock edges was tedious and ate up weed eater twine in a most impressive way. So the labyrinth usually looks like this in the summer.
Okay. The bride and groom were a one-time phenomenon.
Believe it or not, there is a path in there, and if you start at the beginning you do indeed make it to the center without getting lost. The labyrinth has many moods.
So, take a moment to imagine the inner circle with that amount of plant material. We tried weed eating it exactly once. The special rocks flew around in a most impressive way and we decided that this was a losing proposition. So, without some sort of grooming method my much vaunted special rocks would be invisible unless you excavated. I admit to spending a certain amount of time each summer trimming back the weeds in the inner circle by hand so I can enjoy my trip around the world when I sit in the center of the labyrinth. For a long time, with a lot of effort, it looked somewhat like this.
As those of you who frequent the blog know, I have been really busy for the last couple of summers, going on cruises to Alaska, taking classes, meeting my new grandbaby, etc etc ad nauseum. The inner circle languished un-groomed.
Another “problem” that arose was my aging brain started suffering memory lapses. When I only had 10 or 15 special rocks, it was easy to remember where they were from. When the numbers grew, identification began to get more haphazard. One way I dealt with this was to take a portrait of each special rock as it came on the place, along with an identifying label.
Please don’t even ask me about the keyword project for the photos on the computer. Finding the portraits of the special rocks is an exercise in determined scanning through the thousands of images I have. I’m going to get to work on that keyword thing right away, just as soon as I finish scanning the 29,000+ slides my father took that I am supposed to be cataloguing. All of a sudden, I am so tired I can’t even contemplate doing anything. I think I will go sit on the couch and mutter for a while.
Okay, back to the subject at hand. For several years I have been contemplating a change, hoping to figure out a way to keep the weeds from growing up amidst the rocks. Consultation with the spouse resulted in a decision to completely revamp the inner circle. I have removed all the rocks, assiduously identifying and labelling every single one of them, except for the complete mysteries which I have NO IDEA where they came from or who gave them to me. Actually, there are quite a few of those, but not as many as you might think. Next, I am digging a trench around the circle, which the spouse and our young laborer are going to fill with concrete. Then I will replace the special rocks on the new concrete pad and then they will remain visible.
So, here is the project in mid-turmoil. Notice all the little paper labels.
The trench is 1/6 dug, and I really ought to be out working on that rather than sitting here at the computer.
However, I have a couple of little stories about the cataloguing that I have to tell. I found the group of rocks that my SIL collected during her choir tour. Luckily I had actually made portraits of them so I was able to tell Finland from Sweden from Russia. There was a big mystery about what happened to Estonia, but it turned up over on the East rock later on. I think it was one that got flung by the dog or a rabbit and when it was discovered out of place on the path while someone was mowing it got placed willy nilly on the circle. I was glad to see it.
Another rock that disappeared was the cool pebble from Cape Town, which arrived with a fossilized kelp hold fast attached to it. This weathered loose, so I blithely laid it back on the rock and put the rock on the circle. During the course of this project, when I found the Cape Town rock’s companion, which came from Victoria Falls, I immediately wondered where the Cape Town rock was, as it was perched where I expected to find it. I excavated through the weeds and grass, and did not find it. Very disappointed, I finally gave up on it. But when I was engaged in removing the base rocks, Cape Town turned up and … SO DID THE HOLD FAST FOSSIL. Amazing. Before I replace it on the circle I intend to use some sort of industrial glue to reattach the hold fast.
The third small rock missing in action was the River God’s ear stone.
Ha! It also turned up, in the middle of the path a few feet away from it’s proper location, upside down. I found it when I was raking away the pile of hay that resulted from the scalping the grass got after all the rocks had been moved.
And so, all rocks are present and accounted for. Now all I have to do is finish the trench. And before I put the rocks back I am taking a portrait of each and every one of them, with their labels, and I will be printing this out for a notebook, which will include the information about who brought me the rock and where it is located on the inner circle. Just in case something happens to me and the next proprietor of the labyrinth wants to know.
Man. I need to get to work.