Last night between my stop at Vesuvio's and my check in at Red Devil Lounge to see Junkyard Academy, I did something that I have done many times, but never in the rainy dark. I wandered my way through the rain to the top of Nob Hill and walked the Labyrinth in the courtyard of Grace Cathedral.
I've been walking these labyrinths for nearly 20 years and I've been on them inside and out, crowded with pilgrims and alone in the quiet. One of the first times I ever walked the labyrinth inside the cathedral was at noon on my 40th birthday. Due to some weird schedule changes in the morning I wound up on the path just before noon. The moment I stepped into the center, the clock struck 12 and all the bells in the cathedral started to chime! It was amazing and blessed and it set the tone for several days of personal reflection and celebration that I still look back on for insight when I'm trying to figure out where I'm headed next. The labyrinth (a symbol of which I also keep around my neck most of the time) has provided me with 20 years of centering and focus in a life that often has neither.
Last night was dark and drippy and I was alone on the path. As I walked the flowing circles, I could look up to the top of The Mark across the way, where I stayed exactly 11 months ago; 11 months, and a whole other world, ago. That morning, I stumbled bleary eyed through the hallway of the hotel, into the elevator and up the hill to walk the labyrinth in the chilly early morning. I was alone on the path that time as well. That morning, on December 22, just after the longest night of the year, celebrating the birthday of my sweetheart, I was gazing into a future that looked cheery and encouraging, rich and hopeful, both personally and professionally. In the ensuing 11 months most of those dreams and visions have fallen to the side of the road. Despite setback and lost hopes, I still remain encouraged by thoughts of whatever might happen next, but I'm definitely not as buoyant as I was back then.
Still, I do as I have done over and over since I first moved away from The City 23 years ago. I return to my original home, the place where I learned to love city life, the place where my daughter (and now granddaughter) was born, and where I always seem to find my soul again, buried and tattered, but somehow always there waiting for the next round. I stumble my way back up the hill, I look across the city skyline, I take a breath, and I step on the path once more.
Yeah... I'm still walkin' here!