GREENTOWN, PA — Carol Cannon-Nesco’s journey began 25 years ago this fall. She went on a pleasure ride in the car, and doesn’t know why she pulled over and began walking. The spot …
GREENTOWN, PA — Carol Cannon-Nesco’s journey began 25 years ago this fall. She went on a pleasure ride in the car, and doesn’t know why she pulled over and began walking. The spot was near Columcille Megalith Park, “Land of Myth and Mystery,” so maybe it was no surprise: something was calling to her.
Without a map, Cannon-Nesco walked until she saw “a circle of stones.” It was her first sighting of a labyrinth.
She walked in, not knowing its significance, but it resonated with her. Time and again she’d return, taking her son and friends. “It seemed as though it was trying to tell me something,” but what?
The vision of the labyrinth would stay in her psyche.
One winter, she spent 5 1/2 hours digging out snow to resemble a labyrinth. Children were enchanted, she said, playing in the dug-out circles, which, in a labyrinth, are called circuits. Cannon-Nesco was enchanted, watching them.
Eight years later, her husband said to her, that she’d “better do something with that field, so I don’t have to mow it anymore.” That was her awakening. She knew exactly what to do in that field, she said. It was the beginning of the artist’s largest piece of artwork. It would take five years before it was opened to the public.
Cannon-Nesco would soon learn that living art is never truly done. Maintenance is an ongoing process. Each year brings different things that need to be fixed. Even now, she spends a minimum of two hours a day working on her project.
One wet season, the labyrinth washed out eight times. Stone would be moved by the rain onto the mulched paths. She’d fix it every time. Her husband finally corrected the problem by digging something similar to French drains around the labyrinth.
She began by painting the outline of the labyrinth on the field; then string was used to mark the dimensions before digging or stone placement began. You need a lot of stone to create the circuits in a labyrinth. Cannon-Nesco built 11 circuits, using the template of the Chartres Labyrinth, which was built in the 13th century. When asked where she got all the stones she mischievously replied “I took them from our stone wall.”
Her husband eventually became savvy. “Stop taking stones from my wall,” he said. It didn’t stop Cannon-Nesco. A friend said she could take stones from her wall. She needed double the amount of stones to grow her garden within the circles. She went to a quarry, filling buckets of stone to complete her circles.
As you walk, the secret garden presents itself on both sides. All flowers were and are planted by seed. Recently a California couple walked it while measuring the distance. It is a mile to the center.
Cannon-Nesco has welcomed charities that want to hold fundraisers at the labyrinth. This year, partner organization Angels and Dragonflies Children’s Charity has been collecting donations of toiletries to make 200 “Bags of Love.” When they’re holding an event at the labyrinth, you might hear an Asian string instrument and a piano playing.
No appointments are necessary during event days. The cost is $3 per person for admission. There’s no charge for children aged 12 and under.
Every year, World Labyrinth Day is celebrated on the first Saturday of May to “Walk as One at 1” local time. Put that on your calendar for next year.
This is a nondenominational, pet-friendly labyrinth. You can come alone or as a group. You’re welcome to meditate, pray or simply enjoy.
In her spare time Cannon-Nesco is a freelance artist, painting and working as a commissioned architectural illustrator. You can see her on YouTube at “The Labyrinth Garden,” produced by the Artists’ Market Community.
Labyrinths are not a maze. There’s only one way in and one way out. Just as in life, you will encounter twists and turns. You may feel lost moving toward the center, only to be brought back toward the beginning. Ultimately, you will end up exactly where you’re supposed to be.
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