White lunch sacks filled with sand and candles lined the labyrinth. The sacred maze was laid out in the middle of a park along the St. Petersburg waterfront. In the center stood a wishing tree.
It was just one of several activities during “First Night,” a family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration. The downtown area that borders marinas and high-rise buildings hosted performances and activities that filled stages, street corners, and grassy parks over several blocks.
A labyrinth is designed for active meditation during which your attitude may vary between quiet and contemplative to joyous as you weave along the path. It has only one circuitous path with no wrong turns nor dead-ends and is often viewed as a spiritual journey, one analogous to life. Your journey to the center is parallel to going deep within, the only true place to find the answers.
“When will this end?” A teenager moaned behind me as I walked within a line of strangers.
A few minutes later she asked, “Are we there yet?”
Then a street musician began barking for a crowd to gather as he started his bucket drumming performance.
I smiled at the clattering and clamoring and humanness of it all. Peace is finding calm in the chaos.
A large lighted sign simply reading LOVE towered and blinked nearby. I clutched the ribbon that was handed to me as I entered. The instructions were to think of a wish and tie it to one of the strings hanging from the tree. I kept looking at the sign and repeating love, joy, gratitude – a mantra I intend to focus on more often this year.
Circling around to the other side, I looked over to the massive banyan trees. Spanish moss hung down. Thick ropes were slung over the branches. Red and green lights filtered through the leaves. Kids and adults wearing helmets were strapped into harnesses, climbing up and down like monkeys on vines. One man with a thick beard idled at the top looking out as the kids around him scrambled back to the ground.
As I circled through the narrow path, I passed a young mother with a baby swaddled to her chest. A peaceful feeling filled me. Could this be the year I experience motherhood? Or am I still okay with not going that route? Will I finally feel settled in a relationship? How will my career and finances shape up?
As my grandma used to sing to me, ‘Que sera, sera.’
I reached the center and stood among several others with my lime green ribbon in hand. A young couple tied one on together and snapped a picture of their hands holding the ends. A father lifted his daughter up so she could secure her ribbon.
The teen behind me sighed, “Finally.”
I waited. And watched. I breathed in. Then, I let my wish out under my breath. I stretched up over a little boy as his mom crouched beside him and whispered, “You never know how our dreams are tied together.”