At the start of this new year, I walked an outdoor labyrinth as a way of focusing on the path set before me – whatever it is – in the days of 2012. It was a cold day but not bitterly so, warmed some by the thin winter sunshine. The trees were all bare and I could see the wounds from the damaging October snowstorm. As I turned the circle around and around, I was sometimes facing forest and sometimes glimpsing a row of houses through a bare thicket.
The path of the labyrinth was edged by stone blocks and covered in pea gravel. I could see the footprints of others who had walked the same way, and I knew I was joined with and to them in prayer. Among those footprints were the tracks of a large dog and a small one, sometimes on the path and sometimes not. Did the dogs walk with their owner or did they come on their own? I also saw the prints of deer in several places, and some small tracks that I could not identify – maybe a raccoon.
I loved the act of walking the labyrinth with the wild things. It was as the psalmist said: “Let everything that breathes praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 150:6) There we were, all of us creatures made by the breath of God, walking and praising in our own God-given way – me and the dogs and the deer and the others.