Ariadne weaves her thread through my life, and each time I see it emerge, I feel my soul stirring as if I am receiving a gently coded message urging me to pay attention. It happened again yesterday.
We have just returned from a stay on the Isles of Scilly off the coast of Cornwall where we spent our days visiting stone labyrinths and researching their origins – the kind of holiday we love! To be honest, I have felt estranged from Ariadne these past months while I’ve been grieving the loss of my daughter, a process that has called me deeply inward. I have, in fact, felt quite estranged from the world in general, and I’ve learned that I am not a writer who is able to easily share her thoughts on the bereavement process. At the same time, with spring now in the air, I have been wanting to return to blogging, but haven’t been sure quite how to jump back into the water.
When I travel, I collect little bits and pieces to glue into my journal – doesn’t everyone? In sorting through my little pile of Scillonian ephemera yesterday afternoon, a paragraph written about one of the hotels, Tregarthens, caught my eye:
“During the mid-nineteenth century there was no regular transport between the islands and the mainland, but in 1849 the islanders provided a sloop, the Ariadne, to run a connecting service to Cornwall…”
Locals, including Captain Frank Tregarthen, would have been familiar with the Troytown on the neighbouring island of St Agnes (circa 1720’s) and could well have been cleverly associating the Greek mythology with the new service being introduced to connect the islands with the mainland some 28 miles away. Knowingly or not, Ariadne opened the islands to the developing tourism industry with her connecting thread.
Not everyone makes the trek out to the old stone labyrinth on the west coast of St Agnes, but there have been some historic visitors over the years, including the Prince of Wales (who later became King Edward VIII) and his party visiting the islands in 1921 – and many modern tourists do indulge in a bit of local ice cream from Troytown Farm, which takes its name from the nearby labyrinth!
Ariadne’s message to me now? It’s time to connect again. Grab hold of the thread and take a next step on the path. I have questioned my strength and resilience this winter, but encountering Ariadne again reminds me that strength is sometimes a choice, and Ariadne’s strength and resilience are what keep her alive in my heart.
(N.B. You can read more about our visit to the labyrinths on the Isles of Scilly on the Labyrinthos Blog when it is published in the next few days – we’re working on a series of posts with photos and information.)