The Labyrinth Stone of Sacred Oak Grove by Joyce Fitzgerald
The stone of the Sacred Oak Grove Labyrinth is quite old and symbolically links present to past—spanning a period from prehistory to the advent of the 21st century. This stone is some 300 million years old in geologic time, having been formed from the wave action of ancient seas. Layer upon layer of sand and silt deposited and ultimately compacted under the mighty weight of each succeeding layer to form what is today called sandstone, a sedimentary rock.
The sandstone is from two sources: quarry run (that is not machine cut and shaped) from southern Illinois near Garden of the Gods, and creek run (that is eroded from outcroppings in creeks) from Muhlenburg County in western Kentucky. The quarry run pieces tend to be deeper hues of orange and not as finely textured while the creek run pieces tend to be deeper hues of red and finely textured with a more polished surface.
Great pressure transformed the individual particles of quartz into rock often colored by iron oxide—thereby giving the labyrinth sandstone colors of orange to red hues—symbolically representing billions of sunrises and sunsets. The structural integrity of the sandstone resulted from the stress that it endured as layer upon layer was deposited one upon another during a repetitive sequence spanning millions of years.
As you stand with your feet on this labyrinth, you also become connected ina a biological sense with the millennia. This stone was being formed millions of years before any of our human forebears, Homo erectus, appeared on earth. Yet today, you inhale the very molecules of oxygen associated with the gaseous vapor of those same ancient seas—giving you breath in the present. So you stand on ancient rock, inhaling vapor associated with the seawater which transported and deposited it.
As you exhale water and carbon dioxide with your breath you continue this process of energy transformation. The chloroplasts within the leaves of the oaks surrounding the labyrinth convert your breath into oxygen, water, and sugar—continuing the invisible yet might process science calls the hydrologic and respiratory cycles of life.
Walking this labyrinth, you will notice that many pieces of stone have distinctive patterns and texture. The stone is often irregular in shape, thus evidencing their own individual character within a general pattern of common traits. The path is laid in a sinuous pattern generally following the contour of the hill forming multiple coils. No attempt was made to fill in natural depressional spots. Hence, you will notice that completion of the labyrinth’s path will take you both perpendicular as well as parallel to the contour of the hill. You will also travel in all directions of the compass azimuth. Your journey on this hill will be both in vertical and horizontal planes as the path changes elevation. The path itself is symbolic of life’s journey with the attendant up and downs and multiple turns one can expect to encounter in a lifetime.
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