Labyrinth 101

Pathways, not puzzles

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

It’s not necessary to take a “Labyrinth 101” class to figure out how to walk through the purposeful pathways, but it does help to keep a couple of things in mind when taking steps toward the center.

First off, remember that labyrinths, which resemble mazes or puzzles, are continuous routes with no false turns. In other words, mazes are planned to help you lose your way, but labyrinths—which are typically built based on proportions mimicking sacred geometry—are designed to help you find your way. Meditation and contemplation are typical byproducts of those who are walking them, but the goal differs for everyone.

When nature enters the equation, even more forces align on the way to making connections. That’s certainly the case when it comes to the Silver Creek Labyrinth Project, a collaborative volunteer effort between Chuckanut Transition and the Alger Improvement Club that is currently in its finishing stages on the Alger Community Hall property along Silver Creek. 

Designed by Chuck Nafziger—the man responsible for creating the labyrinth at Bellingham’s Fairhaven Park—the path is made of concrete pavers bedded in sand and gravel and leads to a footbridge that provides access to a bench on the shore of the creek. It winds its way through native trees, and surrounding garden beds will soon be filled with native medicinal and edible plants that will eventually be offered to the public for harvesting.

“It is our hope that it will foster connections between our community and our natural world, as well as become a magnet for public art and celebration,” organizers say. “The labyrinth will be an asset to this community during its installation and for many years afterward. Community members are already enthusiastically donating their time, labor, materials and money to the effort.”

At a recent work party, volunteers of all ages wore smiles and cold-weather clothing as they dug trenches, set stones and bricks in place and hauled gravel. A final work party will take place Sun., March 4, and a $500 crowdfunding campaign is currently underway to help finish up the project.

At this weekend’s event, those attending are encouraged to bring small mementos to put in the cement to act as a sort of time capsule. Keep in mind that they should be durable (stone, wood, glass, etc.), relatively flat, and two inches or less in diameter.

A public unveiling at noon on St. Patrick’s Day will reveal the hard work that community members have put into creating the peaceful pathway, and all are welcome to come ask questions and get found—not lost—as they enter the labyrinth for the first time.

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