Last week we went on holiday to the Gower coast in South Wales. We had been there last year and this year we went back to stay in Port Eynon, just a few minutes walk from a beautiful beach.
On leaving, I was surprised to find myself grieving over the leaving of a piece of landscape. I am fond of places in Herefordshire, but I can’t remember finding myself becoming attached to a place elsewhere to such an emotional extent. There is a coast path that leads up from just above Overton westwards along the top of the cliffs towards Mewslade and Rhossili. I explored the area last year and recall writing a poem about the ‘Edgeland’. On one side of the path are small cornfields with high stone walls and fences that are a reminder of the small scale agricultural history that once covered much of our landscape. Then there is like a plateau of common land -sheep-grazed grass, bracken and gorse that then gives way to the limestone cliffs that drop down to the rocky sea shore below. I had heard about Paviland cave and tried to find it, but as it was tucked away in a location that required a bit of certainty about tides and sure footedness I decided not to risk the search. The cave is one of the best known prehistoric burial sites in the country and so I sensed a deep sense of mystery and history in the area.
I took no photographs of the path, which I now regret but, really, there is not much to focus on. It is just a wide path that carries wandering souls along an edgeland between the land and sea. It has been a week since I left it, but yet I feel part of me is there part of me has felt a deep sense of belonging to that place. It was a place of peace; a place away from the intense concentration of computer illustration work; a place away from the demands of modern living. A place of freedom.
I know I have only visited the place on warm sunny days in the summer so my experience of it is slightly biased to the positive, but perhaps carrying this intense memory of the place is a subtle lesson to me. Perhaps there is something I should be learning or remembering here. The words that came to me are “I am still here”.
The tiredness and headaches in the first few days of being back at work are a reminder of how draining sitting in front of a computer screen can be. I spend much of my day focusing in on the digital necessities and interests that fill my life. On holiday I longed to just walk and explore and free my body of the confines of my desk and sketch with freedom and my genuine personal creativity. With little spiritual inspiration around me I have not had much on which to focus and I seem to just be waiting for something to revive me again. “I am still here” is perhaps a subtle whisper from the Nature that inspires me. It held me close for a while and now we have parted. I must not loose sight of things that inspire me and should seek out ways to enliven my spirit particularly now that the summer will soon draw to a close and the year will start to turn to harvest and autumn.