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Success, Failure...some of my greatest failures have been a springboard to my greatest successes...the terms are truly fluid.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Playing in the Ruins of a Norman Castle, Boys Playing by the Water, A Host of Kind Faces Sing to me at a Church, and Thatched Cottages...

Yesterday was so stunning...it is strange to have my life elevated so to such a level of beauty that like in Florence, I am becoming accustomed to it. The street signs and the little red-rimmed round speed signs have become the norm now I have seen them so much. I have grown accustomed to "round-a-bouts" and hearing Little Elliot's lilt as he says "Auntie Terri" with a clear and clipped accent that makes him sound like a wealthy aristocrat to my California ear.

I have had a sore throat and headache for days but who can pay attention to it when there is so much to see and do? I took along plenty of hankies I snagged from Kimberley's counter and found myself once again in the stunning, green, LUSH, Welsh countryside. Knowing full well that the month of green in California will be gone long before I return to California, it makes this lush area even seem more so. As we drove along we quickly found ourselves on a one lane road....every house here...even the modern mall, is not far from real nature. The mall's parking lot was more of a garden compared to Caifornia for me. They have used that British excessive tidiness that I associate with a British garden, to create townships that carefully  seem to have been placed for maximum visual benefit as well as the best conditions for its inhabitants. I had no idea that the American West is so sprawling and unplanned until seeing these beautiful streets. The locals seem to be unaware of how precious it is to have rows of houses placed within in 2-3 blocks of farmland and woods. Everywhere.

 As we drove along, I suddenly realized that amongst the hedgerows a few thatched cottages were tucked here and there as if hey had popped out of Alice in Wonderland! Every building here seems to be made of stone except these lovely ones and all of them are so pretty to look at...it is just so beautiful in every direction here, I don't know where to focus my attention at all!!
At the grave yard, I remembered that I had forgotten to bring my information about who is buried here in this country on both sides of the family tree, so I decided to count this as our graveyard. I sent loving thoughts to all my Welsh kin...the ones I knew like Aunties Winnie and Katie and Papa Jim, as well as those I did not know like my grandfather Owen. I had also thought of my favorite Welsh song to play on a recorder, "The Ash Grove." The words are "how graceful, how plainly 'tis speaking, the wind through it playing has language for me, when over its branching the sunlight is breaking, a host of kind faces is gazing at me, the friends of my childhood are again before me, fond memories awaken as freely I roam, with soft whispers laden, the leaves rustle over me, the Ash grove, the Ash grove that sheltered my home...."Amidst a plethora of flowers, bluebells, daisies, primroses and daffodils at the Merthyr Mawr Church. While we frollicked amongst the graves searching out dates and stories, I heard a squeaking from the branches on the hedgerow at the side of the grave yard. When I looked up, I saw that it was two tree trunks catching a breeze. I had no idea what kind of trees they were...they made me think of the song and the ancestors that I long for bending kindly towards us...and it made me feel close to them in a way I have felt in a long, long time. I asked Jeff, who seems to know everything, "What kind of trees are those?"
    He answered, "I think those are Ashes...they aways seem to be planted around the churches..."


       As if that wasn't enough I got to watch the boys swim in a water free moat around an old Norman Castle and its ruins, cross a river over stones, walk on a footbridge, and the 3 boys play along the river as girls on horses rode through the riverbanks...and when I say 3, I mean the full grown one who moved as fast and excitedly as the children. Here is Spencer swimming in the moat around the castle.

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