As one who has studied Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, I know that a true adventure is not always easy, nor is it necessarily safe. Our journey today took us way up into the hills above the Adriatic Sea, to a small hilltop village called Petrella Tifernina. On a normal day, it would have been a slightly haIr-raising drive up the many switchbacks to the top – but today the weather was below freezing, and snow was falling in great clouds and swirls. I prayed to every deity I could think of, and still texted a friend to tell her she could have my knitting needles if I died on the road.
Once in the village, we abandoned the car, and made our way to Chiesa di San Giorgio at the very top. It was well signposted, but very closed, and the only person out and about was an old woman carrying a big stick and a bag of carrots. Hands waved wildly in the air as her Italian mingled with our English, but it must have made sense because she returned to her house, opened the door, and shouted for her husband to bring her the key to the church. Our crone let us into the church and motioned for us to slam the door when we left, then she disappeared into the snow and left us to explore the (very cold) church on our own.
What we were looking for was a small classical labyrinth scratched into the stone somewhere in the darkened church. I had a sinking feeling that we might freeze to death before we found it, but Jeff did his labyrinth magic thing, and walked straight to it, surprising us both. I swear the man has some sort of internal labyrinth magnet; if there is a labyrinth in the area, he will find it….
With the labyrinth photographed and measured, it was clearly time to leave. I would have loved to explore the village, but we knew the roads would soon become impassable.The drive down was terrifying enough as it was.
So, all in all our walk in the snow was shorter than our very long drive across snowy Italy today, but we are safe and we found the labyrinth we were looking for….