Some of us who are of poetic spirit, see things in more than one way, in layers of experience and meaning. In the poetic soul, there is a “surface” message or experience as it is, and then the “deeper” meanings of perception and metaphor. One of my daughters will sometimes sigh and say “Mom, can’t a thing be just what it is?”. And I must sigh in return ” Well, yes…… and no…it is so often MORE than just what it is.” The poetic mind works differently, admittedly making more complex meanings out of the seemingly simplest event or object. We can’t help it…the gods installed that program into us, and every person with even a spark of greeningspirit or star-struck magic in them knows we must honor the gods who have such wonderful imaginations and want us to carry their message forward!
And so our family experience through the corn maze set me thinking about life in general when we have been moving along on our familiar path, and then either by choice, or without warning, we seem to enter a new phase, propelling us on a new journey. And that new situation, despite a few hints, markers, or even a well-marked map, suddenly is filled with a multitude of choices, some which keep us moving forward, some that just circle around back to the same old place, or some that lead nowhere at all, to a dead-end.
These situations are all part of life.. as in becoming a parent (all of a sudden you have to be a leader), becoming partnered (learning to compromise..”let’s go THIS way!” “No, let’s go THAT way!”), losing your job or health (what do I do, where do I go, which path that will get me back on track???), or being drawn towards a spiritual/creative quest (how do I get to the CENTER so I can see clearly and live from the HEART?), family relationship challenges (we have a problem here…how do we all pull together as a family to stick together and figure this out?).
As my daughters and grandkids and I adventured through the maze, we elders had to often move VERY fast to stay in formation..an elder in front leading, kids in-between, and an elder in the rear, as it should be in a healthy family system. Our little guy, Aiden, at 3, has a spirit of mischief and is VERY swift of foot. Suddenly running ahead and disappearing from sight around one or another bend (or as well, leaving the path and cutting though and disappearing altogether into the corn itself like a fearless pioneer) and he could be lost forever, giving us a severe fright, as we kicked into third gear to overtake and intercept his youthful adventure. It was a parental/Noni challenge…sometimes we elders were properly in formation leading and forming up the rear, and sometimes the speed and curiosity or impatience of the kids rushed them forward into lead position, requiring a different kind of vigilance on our part.
This was a very thick corn maze this year and we almost gave up before we reached the center from which we could take a break and get an over-view of the whole journey which we had been making as a family team. From our perch on top of the platform, one could see the whole of the maze, but not the individual paths hidden within this jungle of corn, so in spite of having a maze map in hand, we had no idea of what might be the way back into the world, which by the way, we could see beyond the maze itself: the pumpkins, the slide, the snack bar, the hay-ride, the cars in the parking lot and people..small tho they looked from a distance. You know, “Life as we Knew it” aka “The REAL world”.
Grandson Owey was getting tired and a little impatient. Giana was still up for adventure and eager to get a promised candy apple when we returned to civilization. Aiden the Adventurer dropped his cap under the platform which was irretreavable (until his Mom broke the rules for the first time in her life (?) when he wasn’t looking to sneak under the orange lines cutting through the corn maze and under the deck and rescue it). Lisa, my daughter who is a scientist decided that enough was enough and whipped out her i-phone with the map on it to pinpoint where we were, and holding it forward so we could follow it out to the world.
Down off of the Center platform, with a feeling that at least we had accomplished a new perspective, we moved forward.
However no matter which path we took, we kept doubling back to where we had just come from, or came up against a dead end.
We agreed that next year we would enter the corn maze with a GPS as a back-up. We were startled and amused when suddenly we heard a thrashing through the corn and a renegade family..a Mom, Dad, and 2 kids..appeared n front of us, fresh out of the jungle, frustrated but laughing and desperate to just get out and back to the refreshment stand. It did give us an idea as a possible future option. ( Sometimes we just have to break a few rules, and go beyond perceived boundaries, becoming a pioneer off of the beaten path to express our creativity)
But we persisted…Owey who was really tired, Big Brave Boy that he is, asked, lamented “WHEN are we gonna get there….!!!!” and was comforted by Mom as we sought the Exit in vain, we adults keeping up a positive attitude for the kids..
Well, time was getting short and we assessed what was now.necessary. We had entered life with a spirit of adventure and curiosity, we had many side trips on the way to the Center, finding a treasure and perspective away from our familiar daily way of life, we had traveled to and through new and foreign territory, sometimes leading the young ones, sometimes following them as they fearlessly charged into life with fresh and youthful abandon, we had stuck together as a Family in a challenge as well as fun and adventure, we had problem-solved together and rescued a baseball cap, we had met a creative-thinking other family on the journey, and we had been amazed by the beauty and imagination of the corn plants..a gift from the gods themselves. And we had to move on, as life was calling us.
We could not find the path to the exit.
And so, taking a cue from the other family we had met along the way (humans do learn skills and resourceful problem-solving from each other) we communally assessed and aligned ourselves with the outer border of the maze by the sound of traffic on the highway, and the sound of activity at the farm….ducked under the orange boundaries strips, cut through the corn unceremoniously and spilled out..a “together family”…over to the refreshment stand and the hayride.
We DID IT!
Unfortunately, the farm had no candy apples that day and so Giana was very disappointed…another one of life’s teachings…how to move on. And so in a moment’s flash we did..onto the hayride, archery, the slides, and the animals. And all was well. Very Very Well….
The Corn Maze was A-MAIZE-ing!