• Meg Gaertner

The Maze

There is a hedge maze at the MN Landscape Arboretum. This is how it starts.

Already you have options. Which way to go? You make your choice and proceed to walk into a dead-end, the first of many. Bother. But what can you do? You backtrack, take note of where you had gone off-track, and continue winding your way further into the maze.

Occasionally, the dead-end includes bright red stop signs with encouraging words to help make clear what the thick, impenetrable wall of shrubbery before you cannot. In more helpful cases, the dead-end includes a bench for you to rest and recuperate on your way through a maze that in all seriousness should take you less than 3 minutes to get through.

This next sign is particularly helpful.

Then you make it to the end of the maze, where your reward is to climb a watchtower and look back on how far you've come and on all of the twists and turns you successfully navigated.

In getting to the watchtower, you were successful. You weren't competing against anyone, so it didn't matter how many times your choices resulted in dead-ends. There were no dire consequences to your taking the wrong turn--you simply learned which paths to cross off your list and moved on to the next.

This maze is a low-stakes game, for sure, but what if life really isn't that different? What if in life, there are no mistakes, no wrong choices, simply steps that take you closer to or further from your goals?


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