Friday, December 6, 2013

Christmas countdown 4 - labyrinth

Starboy has been delighted to hear about how Martin, of Martin and Sylvia, took over the family job of building the advent spiral out of rocks and tree branches and small candles. The story is lovely, of determination, pride in working hard to complete a job, growing up. It's from last year's Christmastime Audio Book at

Unfortunately, our yard is too small for a decent spiral — at least this year...maybe next year I can figure it out while his feet are still small—So when I discovered that there's a proper Chartes labyrinth right here in LA I knew Starboy needed to try it. (And it was free!)

I found out later that the center of the labyrinth is a place of transition. "You can go to the empty center and get something you feel you do not yet have, or you can leave something in the center that you no longer need." I don't know that I did either of those things, though Starboy may have. I encouraged him to walk slowly and quietly, and later I learned that running and dancing is just fine.

The Peace Awareness Labyrinth also has some stunning gardens, in a very tiny space. Starboy enjoyed the koi and searched for a place to leave a gift for the fairies there.

In the Martin and Sylvia stories, the characters often go out into nature and in a quiet moment, they discover unexpected things, like a fawn and a doe munching grass, for example. I was surprised to look down in this lush, manicured garden and discover a single four-leaf clover in an unusual spot. I don't think I've seen one in 35 years. I remembered that day, and I did not need to be reminded how lucky I am to be surrounded by an incredible husband, an amazing son, a warm and beautiful house, friends locally, from long ago, and online, and so much more.

What a lovely moment of magic.

Starboy said this was a fairy church, because there was no place to sit and settle, as there would be in a proper fairy house. He would not leave his fairy gift here.

The gardens were filled with fountains, cascading waters, dappled sunlight, rich hues.

Starboy finally left his gift for the fairies up near a reflecting pool. He said he'd seen some up there, and they were more likely to be attracted by the blue tile than the gardens below. I disagreed, but he was quite adamant. We did both think the fairies would enjoy the acorn he gave to them.

I've been making labyrinths at home to share with Starboy and the kids at school. Starboy was drawn to these right away.

This are for tracing with a finger, as a cheap and insufficient version of these. I used air-dry clay and the lid of a giant nut jar. I think it looks terrible, and recommend the Etsy ones. But it will be fun for the preschoolers to trace.

I also made some cretan labyrinths using felt and puffy fabric paint, following some great directions from a web page I now can't find.

Today's completely unrelated book: "Mim's Christmas Jam," by Andrea and Brian Pinkney. A well-illustrated story about a hard-working Daddy coming home for Christmas, slightly edited for preschooler language (bad words like "mean" and "evil").

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