There was cloud cover when
we set out, and so the night
was darker than we expected. Light
from flashlights shown
our way across the rickety crossing
at the spillway
and on the mown path
across the dam. High thickets
of sunflowers
created a ghostly green gauntlet
on each side as we passed.
Once we crossed the pond
we doused our flashlights
and walked the path
Ann had mown through the prairie.
We fell into silence
as we walked. Still,
clouds covered the full moon—
full blue moon—
but they couldn’t cover
its white light.
At the top of the prairie,
there was enough light to see
where to enter the labyrinth;
the tall grass walls reflected
enough light
to see the darker path,
make the turns. We walked silently
still,
brushing palms across tall grasses,
passing each other,
following the path,
moving parallel for awhile
before one or the other
made the next turn—friendly,
familiar,
ghostly figures along the path.

Debra had entered the labyrinth first.
She has been a friend for a long time,
through many joy-filled and
tear-filled times. It was she who
first asked if I wanted to walk the labyrinth
in the light of the full moon. That thought
had never occurred to me. Of course
it would occur to Debra,
so steeped in Earth’s beauty
and mystery. As always, there were
mutual insights: she thought moonlight
was the only light under which one
walked the labyrinth. The day she called
to tell me her beloved Danny had died,
she asked me to go out
and walk the labyrinth, which, of course,
I did, not knowing how
that could possibly help.
Here we are
again. This time accompanied
by another dear friend, Rachel.

Debra reached the center first.
Cloud cover had cleared,
and formed an interesting pattern
of stripes, curved gently,
pointing north. Maybe that’s why
everyone laid down in the grass
facing north, eyes
to the sky.
Higher in the east now
the full blue moon
shown bright and clear,
its face glowing.
Silently, we watched stars
and moon
and clouds;
felt the night air cooling.
Safe
inside a bright circle
for a little while,
with stars and moon,
grass and cool air,
dear friends.
We lingered long.
Slowly then
we made the turns
that took us out,
walked down through the prairie—
the quietest of times on the prairie,
when the wind is stilled,
the birds sleeping—
back across the dam,
through the dark flanks of sunflowers,
and home
for ice cold watermelon.

This I know:
There are things
you can only experience
in the darkness—
and by the light of the moon.
The labyrinth—
in moonlight
or daylight—
will take you in,
hold you safely for a little while,
and send you on your way again.
It is necessary
to walk with friends on the path,
at every turn.

DSCN7683Debra and Rachel at prairie labyrinth