Sometimes I have to give myself permission to play. I think it is important for the soul, for the heart, for the mind, and for the body to simply have fun. Especially once we have reached the lofty maturity of adulthood! We take on more and more responsibility. Our lives get busier with duties. We begin to wear ourselves down before our time.
So once in a while I decide to do something quite childlike that requires no special thought. Dare I say – I even allow myself to “get silly” and giggle and not act one iota like an adult. There’s no better time to do this than during the Holiday Season. There are so many fun kid-oriented activities to choose from starting with getting dressed up for Halloween and ending up with a visit to Santa.
And so it was, that about ten days ago I found myself in the company of two intrepid child-wannabee girlfriends heading down to St. Augustine. We picked up my daughter who had decided to brave the company of three mature ladies on their quest for childish fun. While trolling the internet, I had come across a link advertising a large 9-acre corn maze and the promise of a hayride included. I have always wanted to do a hayride and the idea of the corn maze made me think of the movie “Field Of Dreams” and had me shivering in anticipation.
The corn maze was located on the Sykes and Cooper Farm in Elkton, which is a few miles south west on CR 207 just outside St. Augustine. We parked the car and walked over to the ticket booth to pay our entry fees. It’s times like this that I really don’t mind being a senior because I got a two dollar discount. They had a few farm animals on display including a sweet donkey, a huge round-bellied fat pig that the toddlers found fascinating, and a small collection of hens. As we finished checking out the hens we realized the big tractor trailer for the hayride was right there and almost empty, so we decided to do that next.
Once we had all got ourselves settled on bales of hay, Farmer Cooper fired up the engine and off we chugged around a large field. There were myriads of gnats in the air but for the most part they didn’t bother us. As we swung around the other side of the field we began to see pumpkins growing on their mounds. I noticed that many of them had a layer of what looked like heavy duty foil laid on the ground around them. I learned that this was to prevent the pumpkins from going moldy on the ground. Some of the pumpkins were humongous!
We jumped off the hayride and made a beeline for the maze. It really was huge and quite intimidating as we entered. The corn (or sorghum) was way above our heads and the paths twisted and turned, ran into each other, went in circles, and did everything else to turn us in the wrong direction. We could hear children’s voices and their shrieks of laughter coming from various directions as they obviously found themselves back at the same spot again and again.
I guess we spent a good half an hour in the maze as we tried to find our way out. Even though we were “acting like children”, the adult in us was aware that we should keep the sounds of the highway to our left, so we didn’t have too much difficulty. I do remember thinking at one point “supposing a ghost just appeared through the corn”, or “what would I do if I stuck my hand into the corn and it (my hand) disappeared”!! Woo-woo! Coming out from the maze we wandered over to the pumpkin stand and bought some miniature pumpkins to use as fall decorations.
By this time we were hungry and decided to head back into St. Augustine to have dinner. On many of my visits to St. Augustine I have passed a small colorful restaurant called “La Cocina Mexican Restaurant” on US-1 and have wanted to try it. We all agreed, Mexican it would be. What a great dinner we had. The service was excellent and the food was “uber” excellent. What I didn’t expect was the superb presentation, almost like a top class eatery. The restaurant itself was delightfully decorated with beautiful murals. Definitely worth another visit and I highly recommend it!
What a fun evening we had. Can’t wait to be a child again!
On the first Sunday of each month on a beautiful beach in St. Augustine, Florida, the Friends of the Labyrinth wait for the tide to go out. As soon as there is enough damp, compact sand available they set to work and create several labyrinths in the sand.
A labyrinth is an ancient symbol known to go back 3,500 years, and may be even older. Labyrinths appeared on most of the inhabited continents in prehistoric times. Many people confuse a labyrinth with a maze, but they are different. A maze is more of a puzzle and the walker has to work out which is the correct path to the center. It is intended as a form of entertainment.
The labyrinth is a walking meditation design and holds no trick paths to confuse the walker. It has a single winding path from the outer edge to the center and back out again. This walk represents the journey inward to our true selves, our “Higher Selves”, our Spirit, our God-Center, and then back out again to the outer world.
Some people use the following process when they walk the labyrinth.
- releasing of concerns and worries on the journey in
- centering meditation, prayer, or quiet contemplation in the
- empowerment of new thoughts or intentions on the way out
However, everyone is free to use the labyrinth as he or she wishes.
Today I walked the labyrinth at St. Augustine. It was a gorgeous sunny day with magnificent cloudscapes against a cerulean sky. There was a wonderful warm breeze that caressed the skin. My friend Lorelei, who creates the labyrinth, had in fact drawn five or six different ones in the damp sand.
There was the classic seven circuit labyrinth and the famous eleven circuit labyrinth based on the one incorporated into the floor of the Notre Dame de Chartres cathedral just outside Paris, which was created around the year 1200 AD. Lorelei had also designed a magnificent fifteen circuit labyrinth as well as two smaller “Baltic” labyrinths, which reminded me of the female womb.
So with the sun on my face and the breeze in my hair I entered the fifteen circuit labyrinth. Within a few steps I realized that almost without thinking I had slowed down internally and I was totally focused on walking the path. This brought me right into the here and now, the present moment, which is where I always desire to be. Because of this process, I automatically let go of any worrisome thoughts.
After a few minutes, I stopped my walking and closed my eyes just to enjoy this feeling, of being present to where I was in that very moment in time. I became aware of the sound of the sea, the waves crashing onto the beach, the distant voices of children as they played in the sand or the water. I lifted my face to the sun and thanked God for the joy and the peace of this moment.
I then opened my eyes and watched the surf spraying as the waves crashed. I saw the seagulls swooping through the air and in the distance I could see several kites flying with long tails fluttering in the breeze. Running swiftly back and forth at the water’s edge were groups of sandpipers checking out what tasty morsels the sea was washing up to shore for them. I found myself being grateful to be alive, to be able to enjoy this.
When I reached the center of the labyrinth I stopped again and brought to mind people who I wished to uplift to God. I asked that He bless and protect them, and I asked the same for myself. I stood there for a few minutes just enjoying being still, having no agenda, no need to move.
I then moved on to the outward journey. I felt a new energy sweeping through me. I found myself thinking of a dream that I want to manifest in my life. I held it close to my heart then offered it to God. I continued walking and became aware that I was breathing deeply, taking oxygen deeper into my lungs than usual. It felt so good to be alive! I stepped outside the labyrinth and just breathed.
After a moment or two I decided to walk the small Baltic labyrinth. Compared to the labyrinth I had just walked this was just the size of a babe in arms, maybe three yards in diameter. (The fifteen circuit one was approximately ten yards in diameter.) The feeling was completely different. There was a sense of intimacy, a warmth that surrounded me.
When I reached the center I sat down and did not want to come out. I felt protected, as though someone had put their arms around me. I hugged my knees up to my chest and thought, “this is what love is about”. I had the distinct feeling that I was “home”. I was, in fact, with my God-Center. I stayed for quite a while before coming out.
If you have never walked a labyrinth, then I highly recommend that you try. It is another way to create that quiet time. It is a wonderful stress reducer and a beautiful way to connect with Creator. You can find more information at www.labyrinthsociety.org. Happy walking!!