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Program 1022

1. labyrinths
2. Baker Arboretum
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Boyle County

For more information:
• More about labyrinths, from a history of design types to a how-to-build-one guide, can be found on the cross-linked web sites of Veriditas and the Labyrinth Society. The two organizations also jointly administer a world-wide labyrinth locator.
• Robert Ferré’s company, Labyrinth Enterprises, builds and installs custom labyrinths.

Producer: Valerie Trimble
Videographer: Michael Follmer
Additional videography: Brandon Wickey, John Breslin, George Murphy, Valerie Trimble
Audio: Brent Abshear, Doug Collins, Charlie Bissell

Inward Journeys

Kentucky labyrinths

The theme for this edition of Kentucky Life might be quiet contemplation. We begin with a tour of some contemporary examples of an ancient meditation tool: the labyrinth.

A labyrinth is a design consisting of a single continuous path from an entry point to a central goal that twists, turns, and folds back on itself—the longest possible distance between two points. The simple spiral is an example, but humans have been inventing their own ever more elaborate examples for thousands of years. Labyrinthine designs appear among the artifacts left by cultures from the ancient Greeks (the legendary Minotaur lived in one) to prehistoric Native Americans to the Celts.

Though the dictionary definitions are virtually identical, most people distinguish a labyrinth from a maze, which has branches that force the visitor to choose which way to go next. Mazes are puzzles, designed to challenge and even frustrate. But the labyrinth, with its one clear path, is meant to calm and focus the mind. By the Middle Ages, labyrinths were a feature of many churches, and pilgrims walked them as an act of devotion.

Recent years have seen a resurgence of interest in labyrinths in Kentucky and around the world, with churches, community organizations, and even private individuals making them available for modern-day pilgrims. Many of the new examples take their design inspiration from the most famous of the medieval labyrinths: the one cut into the stone floor of France’s Chartres Cathedral. Ironically, that labyrinth was actually covered (by chairs) and unused for more than two centuries. Now, as its four-quadrant design and “flower-petal” center are replicated and improvised on around the world, it has been re-opened for walking.

In our tour of some of Kentucky’s labyrinths, we watch Robert Ferré and crew lay out and construct an example based on the Chartres pattern in Danville. We also visit labyrinths showing a wide variety of designs and construction materials in Louisville, Georgetown, Boyd County, Daviess County, Garrard County, and Kenton County:

  • Sacred Oak Grove
    2504 Hwy. 1554, Owensboro, KY 42301, (270) 771-4737
  • Coming Home Sanctuary
  • St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
    4700 Lowe Rd., Louisville, KY 40220, (502) 491-7417
  • Cliffview Catholic Retreat Center
    789 Bryant’s Camp Rd., Lancaster, KY 40444, (859) 792-3333
  • Church of the Epiphany
    914 Old Harrods Creek Rd., Louisville, KY 40223, (502) 245-9733
  • Danville Labyrinth
    Pathway of Peace, Main Street, Danville, KY 40422
  • Snake Labyrinth Healing Center
    P.O. Box 189, Rush, KY 41168, (606) 474-0219

Warren County

For more information:
• Jerry Baker, 4701 Morgantown Rd., Bowling Green, KY 42101, (270) 781-4800

Producer: Barbara Deeb
Videographers: Cheryl Beckley, Erin Althaus
Editor: Cheryl Beckley

Art and Flora

Baker Arboretum

The handiwork of both man and nature is on display in our second peaceful place for this edition, Jerry Baker’s private arboretum in Bowling Green.

A successful business career allowed Jerry to become a patron of local arts and build a personal art collection. As that collection threatened to overwhelm his home, he decided to combine it with another lifelong passion—for nature—and build a sculpture garden/arboretum. Now some of his prized pieces sit among an equally prized collection of conifers. The garden also shows an Eastern influence, with Japanese maples and bonsai trees. Landscape designer Mitchell Leichhart points out some examples and talks about how the arboretum was built during our visit.

One of the artists whose work figures prominently in the Baker collection is Joe Downing, a Southcentral Kentucky native known internationally for his multimedia creations and a Governor’s Award in the Arts recipient. Kentucky Life profiled Downing in Program 621.

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