Aug 31, 2010

Merlin’s Marin Labyrinth Tour

MerlinGrace Merlin has a special place in his heart for British ladies. They are the best Dog People, clever and quick with the treats. So when we heard an English accent at the the Grace Cathedral labyrinths, we introduced ourselves. Turns out, we were all in San Francisco for an urban pilgrimage weekend and when our new friend Felicity asked about local labyrinths, Merlin suggested a local labyrinth road trip. So,the next day we collected her at the Sausalito ferry and drove out into the Tiburon peninsula fog.

First labyrinth: Community Congregational Church, Tiburon. Our good friend and labyrinth facilitator extraordinaire, Anna Cook, was the creative force behind the new labyrinth installation of cement and packed sand. Sonoma labyrinth gal pal, Lea Goode-Harris, consulted. MerlinMarin1 If you're tall, you can just see the Golden Gate Bridge peeking over the shrubbery. The site held an Amiens pattern of flagstone and thyme that was a fragrant delight to walk with each herb crunching step. The new labyrinth is settling in nicely, awaiting its public dedication celebration Autumn Equinox Saturday, Sept 18, 10am. Merlin's chauffeurs have hung fine art photography of sacred places in the CCC gallery, presented pilgrimage travelogues, and played original compositions on their grand piano for labyrinth walks. The annual Winter Solstice candlelit walk is a Merlin family tradition.

Second and third labyrinth: San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo. Geneva Terrace presents a MerlinMarin2 marvelous seven circuit medieval cross labyrinth aligned to Mount Tamalpias. A classical pattern of white brick is sunk into the retreat center yard. Merlin appreciates the cooling grass of the Spirit Walk Labyrinth, MerlinMarin3 the walking path connected in the English village green style to the surrounding lawn, Ariadne's unbroken thread of contemplation and living relationship.

After a lively lunch we continue north to San Rafael. Fourth labyrinth: Church of the Redeemer. MerlinMarin4 This full size Chartres pattern in brick, gravel, and sand was created last fall. Nestled into the open space next to the church on ancient Miwok Indian land, the labyrinth entrance connects to the public sidewalk, inviting neighbors to stroll through. Friendly and open, the space welcomes lingering.

MerlinMarin5 Fifth labyrinth: Lutheran Church of the Resurrection. A few blocks from Merlin's home, this outdoor Chartres pattern in rope features a refreshing fountain in the center. Merlin's interns did a photo shoot here last summer. The church hosts First Tuesdays Labyrinth Walks every month on their indoor canvas, a seven circuit design by Robert Ferre. See you there?

MerlinMarin6 Last labyrinth: home. Merlin's favorite labyrinth is the double spiral mounded earthwork in his own backyard garden. He trots along the paths every day, brushing rosemary bushes and ducking under lavender. The main feature in Merlin's private agility course, he’s swift to show off for visitors, pointing out the location of the doggie biscuit reward box. Afternoon tea and fresh scones for all.

MerlinMarin7 Six Marin labyrinths in one delightful day. Thanks Felicity. Merlin enjoys playing local labyrinth tour guide host. Keep walking!

Merlinmobile: 48 miles.
Labyrinth walkers: 1/3 mile x 6 labyrinths x 3 people = 6 miles.
Plus Merlin = infinity and beyond!