for july, we'll be going to our first labyrinth, which i'm pretty darn excited about because they've been a major curiosity point for me for years, since i wrote a few articles on local ones. but the one we're visiting is not one i've written about before in regional newspapers. to explain more about them here, i've pasted an excerpt from my 2013 article about a labyrinth in leesport at the bottom of this blog post.
and we'll be heading back to the schuylkill river at the end of july, to lock 60 in mont clare, since we didn't get to go there in june but enjoyed a douglassville section by the water instead. it has more room for exploring and seeing, which is a nice part about mont clare's stretch along the river.
when: sunday, july 16 @ 1 p.m. & sunday, july 30 @ 1 p.m.
where: for july 16, the labyrinth–the address of its location is ursinus college at 601 east main street, collegeville, pa 19426, but you will want to turn onto east 9th avenue next to the college, then turning right into the west parking lot. the labyrinth is right around the bend in the early part of the driveway of the parking lot. follow the lot left to park first; for july 30, lock 60 is located at 400 tow path road, mont clare, pa 19453, and this road is just across from produce junction outside of phoenixville off of bridge street–follow the driveway all the way back until there is no where else to go
optional themes of focus:
- sunday, july 16– labyrinth poems
- sunday, july 30– river poems at lock 60
if we have oddly inconvenient weather before or during set classes, i will update those who RSVPed to classes in advance to let them know if we are canceling or rescheduling.
cost: $20 per student, per class (we usually meet for 2 hours or more)
if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at poetrywithjenniferhetrick at yahoo dot com.
and if you know anyone who may be interested in our class, feel free to share this blog content onward.
also, if there is anyone who may want to join our class but lives in another area across berks, chester, and montgomery counties, we sometimes travel to a good variety of different places, so let us know, and we can see about planning classes closer to you.
a labyrinth is sometimes confused with a maze, which can be a stressful challenge for the brain; instead, a labyrinth is a set of paths usually in a circle, geared toward helping people find footfalls that relax and bring them to a more pensive yet peaceful place.
“it’s not a maze where the intention is to get you lost,” said dave bushnell, pastor of epler’s church of christ in leesport. “it leads you to a center point for meditation.”
and it doesn’t necessarily have to be precise meditation; those who venture to labyrinths can sit and have their own quiet and use the opportunity for time away in whatever way they need.
“you walk out the way you came in, but in reverse,” bushnell said. “it’s great to see children in it. and some people walk straight to the middle because they can’t walk the full length.”
bushnell noted that he’s seen regional nurses taking slow walks through the labyrinth as they are thinking caringly about their patients who can’t easily visit the reflective resource of a spot on their own.
and there is no right or wrong way to walk through a labyrinth. some will move at faster paces, but slower ones are usually helpful for the busier minds of so many today who never get much of a chance to slow down because of so much on their proverbial plates in life.
“as you follow the path to the center, you let go of things as you walk, and you’re leaving the world and entering a space,” he said.
this sense of letting go is a lot of why people who visit the labyrinth from across the berks county community find so much relief while inching their way to the benches at the center.
“it’s pretty countercultural to walk around in a circle,” bushnell pointed out about how this endeavor is out of the norm but a benefit to the heart and mind.
labyrinths are incredibly historical, too. they can be traced to more than 4,000 years ago; the most ancient one officially on record is a cretan classical seven-circuit labyrinth from more than 3,500 years ago.
a good number of the labyrinths that are searchable across the globe on www.labyrinthlocator.com (where labyrinths can be discovered by zip code) are modeled after this ancient labyrinth.