Friday, August 05, 2005

Last night, I walked a labyrinth at a monastery with some friends and my daughter. What a beautiful experience; the night was dark, but the concrete of the labyrinth glowed enough that we could see where we were going. We walked in silence, in bare feet, feeling each placement of foot, each breath. I loved it--it was both solitary and communal all at once. I loved the twists and turns of the labyrinth (which was based on the design of the one at Chartres)--you think you're getting close to the center, but then you realize you have a lot more journeying ahead of you. At the center, I lay on my back next to my daughter and stared up at the stars, and felt my body shimmer inside. It was very cool. Such a lovely thing to share with her, with my friends.

I have recently entered a labrynith of a different kind--I have set up a MySpace page! I don't plan to spend much time over there, but you can look at my profile if you're curious to know what sorts of music and movies I like! And feel free to add me to your Friends lists if you are MySpace denizens, yourselves.


Damian McNicholl said...

That does sound very lovely, Gayle.
We have an island in Ireland called Lough Derg where pilgrims must walk beds of stone as an act of penance. (It's a penance island founded by St. Patrick and one also fasts there, which wasn't a problem when I saw a spider creep out from a basket of toast one morning, dry milk toast being the only food allowed and only on teh second of three days.) I used to go there as a teenager after I'd done important exams and not really studied very hard for them, certainly always before the results posted. But I failed once and gave the whole 'penance' thing up, deciding it might be more effective to study hard in the first place. Your monastery seems much more propitious toward contemplation.

gayle said...

Wow, Damian--what an amazing and hilarious story; thank you for sharing it! I am fascinated by the idea of penance (especially such specific penance!) I hope this will show up in one of your novels some day.