The Heart's Longing

We've just returned
from Ashland and the beautiful Rogue Valley, Oregon...


where I had the honor to be the keynote speaker
for the 2nd annual North West Labyrinth Gathering,
entitled "The Heart's Longing:
In Beauty and Nature the Labyrinth Restores Us"...

Here, Milt and I gather with some of the gathering's
amazing committee members
in front of Lani and Stan Rossetta's
beautiful goddess labyrinth,
based on a Baltic-wheel labyrinth...



For our stay, we rented five nights
in Lynnette and Paul Scolari's
Thimbleberry Cabin, 29 miles east of Ashland...


Words and pictures do not begin to describe
the beauty and bone quiet of this forested area...

I built the Scolari's a small three-circuit labyrinth
from displaced rocks from the surrounding construction
for them and their future cabin guests
to add to and enjoy...


On Friday afternoon before my talk,
we visited with dear family friends who have now lived
in Gold Hill Oregon for the past thirteen years...

Oh how I've missed Carol's baking and Kenneth's coffee!!!

But most of all,
I've missed their sweet and wise spirits
and the way they hug me!


Their home and garden were a delight,
and their clematis loved posing for a picture...


I was warmly welcomed that evening to the NWLGathering,
along with Jean Houston who made a special guest appearance.
Here I am with Rose Tandon and the beautiful posters
that she made for Jean and me...


After the evening talks,the magnificent slide show by Margaret Valvo,and opening ceremony by Alena Marie and Tom Smith on flutes...Milt and I had a late night meal with Dale and Rita of iSpiritual,the finger-labyrinth ladies of the world!


On Saturday, my rope classical labyrinth
joined many canvas labyrinths of all shapes and sizes...


I did two workshops on what I've come to realize
is my favorite topic and life's work...

Beauty and the Beast/Minotaur...



I met many wonderful people and had the joyful opportunity to meet in person with a long-time internet connection, Marney Armitage from Canada. Like many others, Marney has been doing some incredible labyrinth work over the years with patients with life threatening illness. She is as delightful in person as she is on-line!


The workshop and speaking festivities closed on the Asante Rogue Valley Medical Center's Chartres design labyrinth...


Led by Alena Marie to the haunting flute music of Tom Smith, the flag dancers spread their wings and graced us with beauty...


And participants joined in the closing ceremony walk...


I must say something here about the Asante Rogue Valley Medical Center. I was so impressed when Pastor Joe McMahan, Director of Pastoral Care, took me on a tour. This state of the art, award winning hospital, is not only functional, but beautiful... giving to patients and staff in a leading edge approach to health care that cares for the whole person, body, mind, and spirit...

On our last Sunday in Ashland, Milt and I took in Shakespeare's "As You Like It." If you have the opportunity to get tickets, do so! It was fantastic!

Before the show,
we wandered through Ashland's beautiful city park...





Somehow, I managed to loose my labyrinth map of the surrounding area labyrinths open to the gathering... Late on Sunday though, Milt and I did find our way to the magical "Circle of Teran," one of the most unusual retreat centers I've ever had the pleasure to visit.


Again, no words or pictures can capture what we experienced... This land, retreat center, and two-hundred foot Chartres design labyrinth made entirely from lavender plants was extraordinary...




In just a few weeks, these mounds will be ablaze in a lavender purple haze... but even now, the scent and the green, and the beauty was a joy to experience...


I returned from my labyrinth walk,

to find Milt deep in contemplation

outside of the retreat center...


We both felt that this trip was a trip of beauty, finding our heart's longing nourished and inspired by the gathering of labyrinth enthusiasts and the labyrinthine path of days spent in nature and the glorious southern lands of Oregon...