I love it when people find ingenious ways to make money using what they already have. For 20 years a farm family in Vermont has been planting 24 acres of corn, cutting an intricate maze into it, charging admission and making untold numbers of people thrilled that they found their way out! Here is a previous year’s maze to give you an idea of what they do.
There is a boat and a bridge in this one; a boat and two bridges in the next.
Perhaps it’s hard to understand the scale from the aerial photos. What it looks like from atop one of the bridges is this:
That’s a boat way out in the distance. The corn is taller than all but the tallest people. And even if you were a giant, it would be hard to see which path to take.
There are a lot of pointless loops and dead ends. There are “guides” posted on the bridges, wholesome yet also rather smirky young people who may or may not steer you right, and they will tell you they may or may not be steering you right! (I may be reading the smirky into it.) There are two “frustration bells” located in random places just to give you something to do when you feel like you are going in circles. There are numerous paper punches mounted on stands that all make a different shaped hole in the card they give you to punch: star, apple, boat, teddy bear, umbrella, hand moon, leaf, etc. Mine looked like this by the end.
You are supposed to punch the card every time you come to one, and when you are all done, you “compare your sequence of punched shapes to their locations marked on the aerial photo in the admissions booth to see how you solved the maze.” Let’s just say I used the card as a way to feel like we were making some progress. If you come to the same hole puncher twice, you are really in a loop! We only did that once that I remember, but I was piggy-back-carrying my almost six-year-old granddaughter a good deal of the time, so forgive me if my memory is a bit fuzzy on the details.
We were fortunate during our trek last week to have a scout in our party who often went on ahead and checked to see if we all should keep going that way or try another direction (thank you, Lincoln!). Nonetheless I am sure the nine of us went under one of the bridges at least three times. We discussed what mistakes we might have made. We tried to intelligently choose the next direction. On my own I would not possibly have made it out of there in the two and a half hours it took us.
I should have had a clue it was going to be as challenging as it was. Just getting to the place feels like going to the middle of nowhere.
You are on a dirt road (not that that’s unusual in Vermont). Finally you see the sign that says M [ear of corn] Z E 627 feet. 627 feet?? That’s your clue right there. This going to be fun!
Parking is easy. There are goats to visit,
toys to play with,
and all kinds of fun things to do before entering the maze itself.
It’s no wonder people love coming here. Kudos to the owners/designers who give us not only a fun and challenging way to spend time together. They have also made possible an experience that fabulously parallels real life, whether anyone but me thinks about it that way or not. How is a maze like this NOT a parallel of a person’s lifetime?
We come into it, we bumble around (fairly clueless), we think about it, we rest, we have a snack, we try again, we note the milestones, we carry the little ones, we share stories, we slow down for the slower ones we care about (or they slow down for us!), we feel a bit of success, we marvel at the complexity, we get dirty, we keep going, we get help (or not, as we choose), we discuss our options, we go the other person’s way sometimes, we laugh, we leave clues for other people and hope it helps, we get frustrated (not that bridge again!), we make progress, we get tired, we sense we are getting to the end, we celebrate, we finish and we sit down!
Seems about right to me. Some people bumble more than others, some have more successes, some carry little ones more often, some get dirtier. But all in all, life is a maze. We don’t know what’s around the next bend, we don’t know how long it will take us to get through it, we don’t know what our path will be until we start going along. We back up and start again sometimes. We experience surprise, frustration, challenge, relief. We keep going.
I am in the middle of my own maze as you are in yours. Don’t you love it?!