Rolf Godon: A most fortuitous convergence
For some time I have had the idea that it would be a significant addition to our community to have a labyrinth at a central easy to get to location.
What I consider to be an ideal location recently presented itself in the form of Bill Rose Memorial Park. Many in the community have no idea what and where Bill Rose park is. And, few are familiar with labyrinths.
Therefore, I will bring additional clarity to both.
Bill Rose Memorial Park is located at the west side of the hospital in the old Gateway residential neighborhood at the corner of Tahoe Drive and Spring Lake Drive. When founded in the 1960s on land donated by the Joseph family, it was nestled in the neighborhood. It is dedicated to Bill Rose, a 10-year-old who accidentally hung himself on a rope swing in the neighborhood. There is a plaque in the park with the inscription: “This land generously donated to the children of this community by Richard (Dick) Joseph that they may forever have a safe place to play”.
As the hospital has expanded into the old Gateway neighborhood the park now borders a parking lot, the hospital day care facility and the old neighborhood. It is administered by the Truckee Donner Recreation and Park District. In recent years it has been largely forgotten and fallen into disuse. It has a large piece of playground equipment and some picnic tables on the premises. The hospital day care sometimes uses it for the children to play.
The Bill Rose Park location is an ideal spot for a labyrinth. It is adjacent to the hospital with the potential of providing a quiet and shady location for staff, patients and loved ones to have quiet time as well as time for contemplation, centering and renewal. It is also adjacent to the hospice building and the lovely park-like setting behind it.
What is a labyrinth? It has only a single, non-branching path which leads to the center and then back out the same way, with only one entry/exit point. It is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of a circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path.
Labyrinth walking is an ancient practice used by many for spiritual centering, contemplation, and prayer. Labyrinth proponents claim walking a labyrinth can lead to deeper relationships, a stronger sense of community, a feeling of being on a spiritual journey, a sense of inner reflection and connection to sources of guidance, a sense of living in the present, greater creativity and stress reduction.
My personal experience in walking a labyrinth by myself and with others is one of a quieting of the inner voice chatter, a growing sense of ease and relaxed awareness, an experience of connection with those joining me in the walk and overall peacefulness.
So, here we have it, a fortuitous convergence; a structure that provides health and well being and a location ideally suited to house it. The park is directly adjacent to the hospital making it readily accessible to staff, patients, family and friends. The labyrinth provides for centering and relaxation of staff as well as family and friends while also an atmosphere of healing of mind, body and spirit for patients. Just adjacent to the park is the Hospice Center with a lovely garden area behind it. While being very close to the hospital it is also a central location in our community for one and all to utilize.
Both the TDRPD and the hospital have informally approved of the idea. What is needed to bring it to fruition is a group of interested community members.
The site for the labyrinth is relatively clear and is adjacent to the playground equipment which will stay in place. There are a number of old stumps on the site which ideally will be removed by a stump grinder or back hoe. We will need to draw out the structure of the labyrinth and line the path with stones. It has been suggested that the kids at the hospital day care might be interested in doing decorative painting of the rocks lining the labyrinth path. There are picnic tables on the site. The park has a chain link fence around it. The side of the park abutting the parking lot could use a visual barrier.
The proposed project will re-energize Bill Rose Park. In the past it was utilized mainly be the neighborhood families and was a center for play and rejuvenation. As the hospital has expanded the park has drifted into relative disuse. Now we have the opportunity to restore its vibrancy, its memorial nature and functional center for connection, play and joyfulness.
I’ve been a member of this wonderful community for about 45 years. I have worked as a psychotherapist, I teach Qi Gong and am an active member of our community. I need and would love some passionate help in bringing this community project to fruition. We need brainstorming and ideas as well as donations of labor and materials.
If you would like to participate in this project please contact me via phone or text at; 530-587-2557 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Rolf Godon lives in Truckee.