July 27, 2009 2:34 PM
On Saturday morning I got a chance to be at the dedication of a labyrinth at the Carpenter Ridgeway Park. For those of you who might not know it, Carpenter Ridgeway is a great little neighborhood tucked on and over a steep ridge that runs parallel to East Washington Avenue just west of Wright Street. There are lots of strong neighborhoods in Madison but, as their Alder Larry Palm pointed out, few that demand so little of the city and give so much back.
So when a neighborhood resident came up with the idea for a labyrinth, they didn't ask the City Parks Department to build it for them. They got to work designing it, raising the funds and getting it done themselves. I was honored and a little surprised to be asked to be at the dedication because I didn't lift a finger to actually get the project done. It's a lot like attending a dinner party at my own home, but that's another story.
Let me stop right here and describe what a labyrinth is to the uninitiated (like me about 48 hours ago). It's basically a walking path that folds back on itself in interlocking circles. It's used for meditation, kind of like a nondenominational Stations of the Cross for all of you Catholic school kids out there. It's a way to slow down and contemplate your life or the beauty of nature or work through some big or little problem. (I told Larry he might use it to think through how he wants to vote on the Central Library issue.)
Back to the main point of my blog today. This wasn't a project that the regular Madison Parks budget could fund. So, two private businesses, Madison Block & Stone and Wisconsin Landscapes came together to donate materials and labor. And the Madison Gas & Electric Foundation, the Madison Parks Foundation, and neighborhood residents kicked in as well. There was a small City of Madison Neighborhood Planning Grant that helped out too. So it turned out to be a great private-public (mostly private) partnership.
And the labyrinth just sits there now looking pretty and waiting for you to visit it... and if it works for you, visit yourself while you're there.