Otis & Friends 3I’m Otis, Prairiewoods’ favorite squirrel, and I’ve taken over this blog for 2016 in honor of Prairiewoods’ 20th anniversary. You’ll hear from me or one of my friends each Friday.

In August of 2003—and many times since—Kathleen Mullin, BVM, came to Prairiewoods to retreat from her daily life. On that visit, Sister Kathleen spent time on the beautiful stone labyrinth that sits at the edge of the woods that I and the other critters of Prairiewoods call home. She wrote this poem. As Sister Kathleen shared it with us creatures of the woods, so too I share it with you …

Barefoot trodding
letting be
feeling grounded, homebound,
I freely move
midst woodlands, insects, wildflowers
about this labyrinth.
I merge memory of Dad home from war
and his selected tales,
of caring families, of stirring architecture
like that cathedral in Chartres
with now
with unknowns
as solitude empties, energizes me.
Gnat and butterfly, going in-out with me.
You evoke reflection of flights
and changes from other times,
you urge my reverence for
and relating with all of creation.
Divine Companion,
You connect heaven with earth in me,Labyrinth at sunrise_Elizabeth McChesney
offering a path for trust,
for truth, for peace,
through beginning-centering-ending, until
graced and shod,
I pilgrimage from Prairiewoods to share.

—Kathleen Mullin, BVM, retreatant

(image: the Prairiewoods labyrinth at sunrise, by Elizabeth McChesney)