There is a very special area close to the Manor House that finds it’s roots in ancient history. The Labyrinth can trace it’s origins over 4,000 years. Unlike a Maze which is designed to get you lost, the Labyrinth is “an ancient symbol that combines the imagery of a circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path” ( www.crystalinks.com).
In Great Britain the Labyrinth is known as a “turf maze” and would often be found in the gardens of stately Manor Homes. Though the Labyrinth at Fintry was not present when Alice was alive I’m sure she and her guests would have taken pleasure in strolling along the peaceful pathway.
Each time I visit the Manor House I see people, young and old, walking or running to the centre and back, sometimes over and over again. I have many photos of my grandsons enjoying this special place as well. Even at three and six years of age they understand the uniqueness of the area and are very careful to stay within the lines.
A desire to share the sense of peace that strolling a Labyrinth can bring was the reason that Cathryne Durante decided, in 2002, to gather together a hatchet, shovel & string line and get to work. She felt strongly that the winding pathway would be an asset to Fintry and all who visit there. Slowly, over the next year, the Labyrinth took shape.
Sadly Cathryne passed away in 2004 but to this day her husband lovingly takes care to weed & maintain the area. He also finds pleasure in the comments he hears as people pass by. What a wonderful legacy she has left for her family and all of us to enjoy.
The continuous pattern, or flow, of a Labyrinth has proven to calm people. Walking the path or tracing the pattern carved in wood, brings a sense of peace. Lisa Durante (www.cedarphoenix.ca), Cathryne’s daughter, carves Labyrinths in cedar. At the last Mother’s Day event at Fintry she often had children at her booth finger tracing the designs. Lisa works with children who have Autism and has seen firsthand the calming effect of fingers tracing the patterns. As Lisa said in her letter to me: “Many people can only be still in their minds if they are busy with their hands”. This soothing action has also proven beneficial to people with anxiety disorders, alzheimer’s etc.
Overseas tourists, students on field trips, campers and locals are all drawn to this special place near the Manor House. It would be interesting to hear from visitors to the Park willing to share their experience at the Labyrinth. If anyone reading this blog would like to share their story please send us a message via Facebook or on this website.
For those of you who don’t know, this peaceful walk is located just north of the Manor House lawn.