The Old Maze is a plantation of Norway spruce between the cabin and the upper pond. When we arrived here in the 80’s, it had a maze-like quality, with many enclosed clearings and passageways among and between the trees. We used it as the site of nocturnal games of hide and seek, “Manhunt” [more about that here] with the hunters armed with flashlights.
We sought to enhance the experience of mild disorientation found in the grove by superimposing an unusual kind of map among the clearings and passageways, a map of the northern constellations of the sky, with the constellations represented by around 30 molded, cement triangles and the pathways between constellations marked by around 65 molded, cement squares. The idea was to invent games that would draw players through complicated, befuddling courses, creating an experience of pleasant frustration, being lost in an entertaining way. The game that eventually evolved from this process was the “Flag Maze Game” [more about that here], which is a traditional event of Weekend Games.
Over time, as the trees in the maze grew larger and decreased the amount of sunlight reaching their bases, more and more lower branches of the spruces here began to die off. When this happens, the branches become less opaque visually and they become a real menace to people’s face and eyes as they run around playing games. As we gradually removed the dead branches, the clearing enclosures began to disappear and the site became unsuitable for the playing of Manhunt. [It eventually became clearly apparent that the trees of this plantation had been planted in rows, something that we had not previously noticed.]
Another aspect of the Old Maze is its population of Boletus Edulis mushrooms, porcini, one of the most luscious wild mushrooms in the world. Occasionally, large crops of porcini pop up here, though it seems impossible to predict when they will appear. If we get to them before they rot or are attacked by mites and slugs, a really exceptional foraging experience is to be had.