May 16, 2009


20 minutes walk from my apartment, on the corner of 'Rue Lusignan' and 'Notre Dame Ouest' there is a labyrinth. If you blink you'll miss it. If you look right at it, you'll still probably miss it. But if you look closely you'll find stones peeking out of the grass in a large pattern.

I found it by accident.

On Wikipedia an un-named "catholic writer" is credited as saying,

The labyrinth is a universal symbol for the world, with its complications and difficulties, which we experience on our journey through life. The entry to the labyrinth is birth; the center is death and eternal life. In Christian terms, the thread that leads us through life is divine grace. Like any pilgrimage, the labyrinth represents the inner pilgrimage we are called to make to take us to the center of our being.

But that's not true. That's the kind of academic bullshit that bogs down the world.

It doesn't need to symbolize anything. They've missed the uncomplicated significance of it being a path on the ground which, if you walk it, does a very particular thing in your head. You can not beat a labyrinth. It is the most remarkable thing. Just follow the lines and it will overtake you.

I feel very Christian in the labyrinth. And that feeling is something I cherish.


Exercise as self-flagellation; it's the only way to jog with integrity. Why else would you?



Leif said...

I always forget that the world wants to float away into the clouds, and needs a good anchoring of academic bullshit to keep it from fulfilling its destiny.

Let us unite and destroy the academes! You go first... but be careful, Joel is sneaky... make it quick so he doesn't see it coming. Like, with a really heavy book you are pretending to read...

...Yeah... and then the world...

*I'm sad I didn't get to go to your labyrinth when I was down there. I hope you find more crazy cool things like that.*

joel said...

Yeah, I think we found it later than your visit; it was an honest 'falling into.'

There is always a next time....

Trev said...

"They've missed the uncomplicated significance of it being a path on the ground which, if you walk it, does a very particular thing in your head."

You just blew my mind with this post. Thank you.

Matthew A. Wilkinson said...

Leif, you delight me.

I can not remember exactly when Joel and I found the labyrinth.



Ha. Gosh.

jon said...

i did a labyrinth once and loved it, except at the end was a pile of stones i was supposed to look through, and on them they said things like "Smile" and "hug" and what not. It trivialized the whole thing and i left the labyrinth without following the lines.

Matthew A. Wilkinson said...

Yeah, I was a little reluctant to even talk about the Labyrinth precisely because it's the kind of thing that can be easily lumped together with smiles and hugs and -well, all that insubstantial peace and love religious tourism stuff.

How frustrating to have had your experience shat upon like that.

It would be like if your communion bread had 'Jesus Loves You,' or 'John 3:16' written on it. Awful.

Learning to leave stuff alone is an under-valued skill.

jon said...

yes yes yes!

Boyda said...

Wow, I was going to strongly affirm your original labyrinth musing with something incredibly witty like "OMG Matt, you're SOOOO right." But suddenly I feel speechless.


Matthew A. Wilkinson said...

Gosh. Boyda, I love thinking of you on my site.