September 3, 2015.  Recent references to “ten years since Katrina” have stirred the need to complete a promise to myself. Katrina stirs up memories of Hurricane Rita in September 2005 (one month after Katrina).  My area of Texas was inundated with clogged roads as people evacuated the Houston area.  This post is a tribute to a grey tabby almost surely let loose from one of many cars stalled along Highway 71 in Bastrop – to whoever let her go – and to Fern (Deborah) Hill of Pine Crone Labyrinth Retreat (just off Highway 71).  Fern found the grey tabby sitting on her labyrinth, and after considering her probable arrival logistics, named the kitty Rita.

I met Fern through The Labyrinth Society.  In February of 2007, I visited her labyrinth in Bastrop.  Labyrinths often offer up surprises, but this was the only one (to date) to include grey tabby energy.  Rita hung out on the labyrinth and liked to participate in walks.  A labyrinth with a real, live spirit animal guide!

Fast forward to September 2011.  Large areas of Bastrop and its surrounding pine forest succumbed to wildfires.  After the fire, I learned that Fern had died three months earlier; and that her retreat center had burned.  But the labyrinth, being rock, was still there.  I felt a pull to go and walk it, to honor Fern (and Rita).  Also, the energy of fire is both destructive and renewing.  I wanted to experience that.  And yet – I could not do it.

Now, four more years, it’s September again.  And yesterday I drove to Bastrop to see what might remain where Pine Crone Labyrinth Retreat had been.