The Park Labyrinth is nestled near the woods along the north leg of the Loop Trail about equidistant from the Park’s main entrance and its Kimtu parking lot. A soothing exercise in contemplative walking or moving meditation, it was created through the efforts of Kay Christian, a physician assistant at Redwoods Rural Health Center (RRHC), and Gillian Brown, a local teacher and labyrinth designer who completed her MA thesis on the topic of labyrinths. Completed in 2008 though the generosity of many donors including the Humboldt Area Foundation, the labyrinth was originally created under the fiscal sponsorship of RRHC and is now administered by the Park.
The labyrinth, with history dating back more than 3,000 years, is a symbol found in many religious and spiritual traditions the world over. Expansive concrete and stone versions of the labyrinth on which people walk have been featured in a variety of settings for thousands of years. Many people mistake the labyrinth for a maze; the two are very different. A maze is more like a puzzle to be solved. It has many twists, turns and dead ends, and it presents choices to the person walking through it. A labyrinth, on the other hand, features one path into the center and one path out. People walking through a labyrinth are not required to make any choices. They simply follow the path to the center and then out again. Labyrinths can be found in churches, hospitals, retreat and meditation centers, hospice facilities and schools. Walking the labyrinth is said to provide a psychic and reflective journey through which the person walking the labyrinth contemplates their life in general or a specific problem or challenge.
Ms. Brown describes the benefits of walking a labyrinth: “It is a soothing and reflective meditation to walk this ancient symbol. People report that it helps them come to balance.”