I’ve been in Wales recently in a location I love. My eyes have rested on sea, on day-sky, night-sky, on green hills and scraggy mountains.
I drive to Wales. When the miles behind me become more than those in front something inside me begins to lift, I smile to myself recognizing that what I feel is the complete opposite of Superman’s reaction to Kryptonite, I feel energy flow through my body and my heart begins to sing.
Before I take off on completely fanciful tract, I will say that I have had a relationship with Wales since childhood. There was 12 years difference between my sister’s birthdate and mine. When she married and with her husband moved around many locations in Wales before finally settling to one, I was still a child. My childhood became peripatetic in that I would go to stay with her, her husband and family at every opportunity. I managed to sometimes get into trouble when I did.
I recall taking three (of her eventual four sons) walking through fields and up a hill for an afternoon. That part was fine. However, it being one of those idyllic summers that are forever in our memories as through rose coloured specs, in this case an idyll summer without the specs, we children were barefoot.
At that age it is so liberating to be barefoot. No stone dared to be sharp or uncomfortable to walk on and the grass was but a plush carpet for our feet. However; why is there is inevitably a however? I had led our merry band back down a different route that took us through the village, only to come face to face with my Civil-Engineer brother-in-law and his company’s CEO. Whatever the CEO might have thought my brother-in-law was not best pleased at seeing his children and niece looking like a gaggle of barefoot gypsies with twigs sticking out of their hair. After the dressing down I had for that, we only took our shoes off and carried them with us after getting away from civilisation!
There is a coffee shop in Dogellau in an ex-haberdashers shop. From the coffee shop I can see place my sister and brother-in-law used to take us to for dinner or tea all those years ago. I’ve been back to many of those childhood places in Mid/North Wales even though my late sister and brother-in-law eventually settled firstly on the Gower in South Wales then between Swansea and Carmarthen.
As a child my brother–in-law gave me a sense of family I didn’t feel in the rest of my childhood, family was everything to him. Because of the work he did and the need to be close to the civil-engineering projects he worked on, he, and my sister, also gave me Wales.
I cannot speak for the interior state of other human beings, I can only speak for my own. I have a sense of always being the observer, what is in here, is here, and what is out there, is there. I see out-there through my senses, as well as through my eyes. There is a border, I think it is my body, although if I were better at description, I might be able to define the sense of where body becomes less corporeal and more essence.
If others have felt as I have, the sense of self being as the borderline I am trying to convey, then it is little wonder our world is so fractured.
Over the years In Wales my border-line seems to have been morphing into something else. This last time I felt the border-line had dissipated, there was no break between the sea and me, the day-sky and me, the night-sky and me, the green hills and scraggy mountains and me. Then I realise there is no me in this, I am as much a part of those things I see as they are of me, it is we.
It is getting nearer to the time I will be able to pick up the studio work I had to leave while I cared for my husband through to his death. I walked with him through that journey. The twenty months since the end of that particular journey and indeed the three years before have felt as if I’ve wandered in the wilderness. A wilderness hidden from others at the body’s border-line. Stress and dealing with some hurt sent me to Wales this time. Now I am back I still have the same circumstances I had before I went, the same hurts and betrayals but I am not my body’s borders and I have been given the gifts that the ancient land of Wales can bestow. We will survive, the other as large a part of me, and me as a small part of the other. We are We.