Fundraising efforts continue to meet $80K goal

By Sarah Gianelli
EBS Senior Editor

BIG SKY – David Kingman moved to Bozeman from Minneapolis in January of 2016, a year after his wife of 31 years, Rocel, succumbed to the ovarian cancer she had been diagnosed with five years earlier at the age of 58.

During Rocel’s experience with cancer—she refused to call it a “battle,” Kingman explained, because “losing” implied a failure of some kind—she embarked on a personal spiritual journey that led her to many Eastern and Western religions, philosophies and practices, including labyrinth-walking.

Not to be confused with a maze, a labyrinth is an ancient spiral formation constructed on the ground that can be used as a tool for mindfulness and meditation.

“It’s meant to be easy to follow, but also requires concentration because you have to pay attention,” Kingman said, referring to the turns that need to be taken in order to reach the center of the spiral.

While walking the grounds of the Bozeman Public Library, through the sculpture garden and along the meandering trails, Kingman had the thought that a labyrinth would be the perfect addition to the artfully cultivated landscape.

“The setting is beautiful,” he said. “Walking, the quiet of the library, and the sculpture … all of those elements made a labyrinth—also a form of sculpture—seem like a great addition.”

Soon thereafter, Kingman presented the idea to the library board and they were very receptive. After two years of fine-tuning the design, settling on a location and jumping through the hoops of obtaining city and county approval, the installation process is set to begin in the next week, and expected to be completed within six-to-eight weeks.

Kingman, a builder himself, contracted DHM Design and Greenspace Landscaping, both Bozeman-based firms, to take the lead on the labyrinth design and construction, rendering it a locally-sourced project from the ground up.

They settled on a fairly conventional-style labyrinth—a nine-circle path, 60 feet in diameter, comprised of regional stone and vegetation that will organically fit into the landscape. Sandstone from a Montana quarry will be incorporated, as well as reclaimed granite cobblestones from the streets of Butte. Kingman also envisions grottos with stone seating and the labyrinth as a potential spot for ceremonies, celebrations and yoga classes.

Kingman said they are close to meeting their fundraising goal of $80,000 but donations are still welcome.

The majority of funds raised for the labyrinth came from family and friends back in Minneapolis, which Kingman said has formed a bridge of sorts between his former life and his relatively new one in Bozeman, where one of his three sons lives.

Kingman said that while his wife inspired the labyrinth, it is not intended to be a memorial.

“I’ll always remember her whenever I see it,” he said. “But it’s not meant as a memorial; it’s meant as a gift to the community.”

Visit bozemanlabyrinth.com to learn more about the Bozeman Public Library Labyrinth Project.