By the time we left the house each day the sun was high in the azure blue sky and casting a wonderful golden light over the landscape, this caused the verdant foliage and wild flowers to radiate with an astonishing beauty. A chorus of bird song serenaded us on our travels and whenever we stopped to take time, to wait, watch, and listen at each place, we marvelled at the agile swifts diving and sweeping through the myriad of midges swirling and dancing over the lakes and streams all about us, or the ducks weaving through the great labyrinthine beds of bull rushes wishing we could follow.
The waters lapped at the shores with a gentle insistence, but no aeroplanes, cars or manmade sound battered at our senses for long moments. And in those moments I thought, all this has been happening for thousands of years, on this same spot an ancient woman could and had that same sense of calm, heard the same bird songs, saw the swifts arrival bringing the final confirmation of summer and the waters would have been a mirror to the same sky.
I was connected through my senses, and beyond time’s boundaries, directly to that woman standing on the shores of a votive lake, Llyn Cerrig Bach, a lake that had swallowed hundreds of offerings of great beauty and price, imbued with the wishes and prayers of the tribes and chiefs who may have travelled for many hundreds of miles. Precious items handed over to, and thrown in by, the druids with great pomp and ceremony, unused and perfect into the inky depths.
I have the pleasure of being good friends with two lovely people who live on Anglesey – Ynys Mon, who graciously played host to myself and two other friends over the past few days. We spent time in the glorious sunshine walking in the landscape where the ancient druids lived, loved and died. All the while Kris relayed the stories, folklore, the archeology and legends associated with each place we visited. Time and history parted their misty veils and allowed us tiny glimpses into an ancient way of life and it was a true joy.
There is nothing so potent and tangible as this kind of experience, no matter how many times one reads an ancient tale, such as one of the four branches of the Mabinogi, it is almost impossible to feel the vibrancy of it until you have stood in it’s landscape.
Moreover blatantly risking imminent discovery, as you remove most of your clothes and walk into the bitingly cold waters of Lake Bala – Llyn Tegid, letting the waters feel your passion for your path. Then to sit on the sunny shore allowing the air to gently caress your skin dry, feeling free and empowered by the breaking of small social conventions that, all too often, keep us withdrawn and cloistered from the natural world.
Freedom of the heart and mind comes from days like these, I will forever be grateful to my friends who I share these journeys with.