Thursday, 12 April 2012

Playing by ear

Waiting for the train on a bright spring morning... It's the school holidays and the station is full of loud children being taken on day trips to London. I'm standing by the 'help point', where the yellow hearing loop symbol is painted on the ground...

The design caught the attention of a little girl.  While her parents were busy buying tickets from the machine she hopped into the painted symbol and ran with tiny steps along the lines of the ear, first one way along the outer contour and then, with a skip, she turned the other way into the centre, then back out again. An impromptu mini labyrinth walk!

When I talk about the labyrinth, especially to people for whom it's a new experience and who might be slightly wary, I might invite them to consider the spirals in nature.  From galaxies right down to the whorls of our fingerprints - yes, including the shape of our ears, inner and outer - spirals and labyrinths are part of our world and once people begin to walk they can feel a surprising sense of recognition, of at-home-ness. What a lovely illustration of this from a child!