RIDGEFIELD — Fae Jackson’s heart was set on walking the world-famous, 800-year-old stone labyrinth at Chartes Cathedral in France, but then life took an unexpected turn. When she arrived on All Saints Day, the labyrinth was closed to prayerful pedestrian traffic. She was welcome to marvel at it, but not to follow its winding path around the medieval cathedral floor.
Jackson is something of an authority on twists and turns. She’s the mastermind of a new outdoor labyrinth that was recently unveiled at the Southridge Community of Christ church, 400 N.E. 179th St., near the Clark County Fairgrounds. The labyrinth is open to all to visit and walk, anytime, she said.
“It’s a mystical way to free your mind and your heart,” Jackson said.
“We like to think of our lives as timelines that are nice and straight, but are they really like that? Not very often,” said Vancouver labyrinth scholar and ambassador Eunice Schroeder. That’s why walking a labyrinth can be such a profound experience, Schroeder said. “It’s a powerful metaphor for life. There’s something very mystical about the labyrinth pattern that really works. It’s not just going for a walk. In one setting you can experience your entire life,” she said.
“It’s a beautiful, peaceful experience,” said Peggy Hammac, another member of the Southridge church. “It’s a form of prayer or meditation, except you get to move. I’m not very good at just sitting there.”
Jackson and Hammac started pursuing the idea of installing an accessible outdoor labyrinth at Southridge several years ago. Their vision became Jackson’s husband’s labor of love. Dan Jackson is an accountant, not a builder, he laughed — but he had the know-how and the connections to get this unusual construction job done.