Monday, March 15, 2010


Seems we have a lot of labyrinths within our 47-square miles. I mean, they're not THAT common and yet I count 6 without breaking a sweat (2 are in the same location but still, a labyrinth is a labyrinth, wouldn't you agree?).

The first labyrinth I ever walked is inside Grace Cathedral on Nob Hill across from Huntington Park. The second is outside Grace Cathedral. What a great outing with my son Charlie - cable car ride up California (with our Fast Passes, because really, $5 each way? This is not Disneyland, and we are, after all, locals.) to the Cathedral, walked both labyrinths together, a session on the swings in the park, then back down the hill to Chinatown for lunch (he was much younger then, and not yet taller than his mum, in Facebook parlance). Maybe a ride in the outdoor elevators at the St. Francis Hotel in Union Square. Sigh.

But I digress. Two relatively new labyrinths have been built in neighborhood parks. One is on the Scott Street side of Duboce Park, small but lovely and surrounded by pretty landscaping and bright mosaic tiles imbedded in the perimeter. The other is in the recently refurbished Potrero del Sol (La Raza) Park, off Potrero Avenue next to Buena Vista School that also includes an actual skateboard park (SF now has TWO skateboard parks, modest as they are, but still, about time.). This labyrinth is different from Duboce - more hardscape, less landscape, but very cool and a popular addition to the park. Patients from near-by SF General use it because it's good exercise and manageable for them.

There's a very different sort of labyrinth in Chinatown but I confess I don't know its location (please share if you do).

And last-but-not-least, the labyrinth at Land's End, assembled from rocks just a stone's throw from the Golden Gate. So simple in its way but in a wildly spectacular setting.

A well-used park has something for everyone. Delicately complex art pieces, labyrinths provide a more meditative recreational experience that can draw those who may not otherwise visit their neighborhood park.

The Friends of Duboce Park planned and raised the money for their labyrinth:

The Friends of Potrero del Sol La Raza Park did the same for theirs:

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