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‘Get ready, my soul;’ Bozeman Public Library Labryinth opens with powerful message

Posted: 9:52 AM, Jun 28, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-28 12:51:38-04

 

BOZEMAN, Mont. – A unique feature is finally open along one of Bozeman’s trails near the Bozeman Public Library.

It’s a stone labyrinth, fun for the kids but there’s so much more to it.

“I never…never hesitated and I had such a great reception from the community.”

Before Thursday, David Kingman had only walked two labyrinths before.

The Bozeman Public Library labyrinth began with him and an idea.

“I moved to Bozeman to start fresh and, you know, I was motivated by the qualities that Rocel had,” Kingman says.

Rocel was David’s wife.

“Rocel often said to me if I’m battling cancer and I die, that means I lost the battle, but she was far from defeated,” Kingman said to a crowd outside of the labyrinth. “In many ways, she was victorious in her journey with cancer.”

Taken too soon…

A memory, Rocel’s love for labyrinths, inspired David to start looking for a spot to build one.

“It was a month or two later, Susan called and said hey, we’ve got another idea and we came over to here,” Kingman says. “This was the perfect spot.”

And after three years of hard work, David and Rocel’s grandson got to cut the tape.

“It was great and I love seeing the children,” Kingman says. “I walked the labyrinth this morning with my grandson and his response was that was really fun.”

Library director Susan Gregory was there, too, as the community, old and young, tried it out for the first time.

“It’s a project that the library is so proud of,” Gregory says. “It’s a gift to the community.”

Flowers, each symbolizing someone lost, followed those into the labyrinth.

“The end result is a project that is really powerful and it offers a lot of beauty and an opportunity to just stop for a minute and rest and reflect and heal before you go on about your life,” Gregory says.

“It allowed it to be much more than just a labyrinth, but to be a healing garden,” Kingman says.

The labyrinth is an eight circuit, 52-foot diameter sight to behold.

Many of the stone used along the paths is recycled from the streets of Butte.

The idea: center yourself, then recognize a personal journey inside yourself, then reflect as you work your way to the center.

Video just doesn’t quite do this justice.

You have to walk it yourself.

Kingman says when you make the entire length of this and follow its path — don’t cheat.

When you get to the center and see a sight like this bundle of flowers left here, the memories behind them are what it’s really about.

“It’s a different thing for different people,” Kingman says.

And from here on out, it’s open 24 hours.

The perfect place to lose yourself or find yourself…

That’s why David walked the route again, for his third and fourth trips into a labyrinth.

“It’s another feature of this incredible community,” Kingman says. “You’ve got mountains. You’ve got trails. You’ve got beauty all around but this is just another opportunity for them to experience calm and well-being.”

(Note: A previous version of this story contained a video that was flawed due to technical issues.)