Friday, May 12, 2017

Worryless in Wales


The wind whipped cold, sneaking in through the gaps in my jacket, and the clouds hung thick, beautifully dense, textured gray, with some white castles in the back, layered, deep …

And then there was a sudden breakthrough.  Bright golden sunrays stole through, beautiful and warm and strong, they spread over my face and my booted feet, and poured like a pail of sparkles onto the sea.  A patch of the gray water turned into glitter – if a dolphin, or maybe even a mermaid, had suddenly emerged from that golden pool to dive gracefully back into the sea, it wouldn’t have surprised me at all.  It looked magical. 

People milled around the beach, a toddler toppled into a hole dug in the sand by her older siblings and the elders standing around in a circle twittered, one of them bent to help the child out; a dog ran past trailed by a huffing young girl who was two steps away from tripping.  I leant against the stone pillar, sand sticking to the back of my jacket and my elbows, my coffee cup resting next to me and the Eels playing in my ear –

– sometimes all you need to create perfection is the right song, the right track to make you feel like this is a movie and you’re the star, a lofty, lovely feeling …

(side note: you know sometimes you’re in that lofty starry moment and walking with a spring in your step and then you trip over something – a yanking that brings you down from your pedestal and reminds you, hello, not a movie, or if it is, you’re definitely not the hero! It’s like when you’re feeling happy and relaxed and you decide to take a deep, long breath in but just at that precise moment you pass by a line of garbage cans and you inhale a rotting fish scent instead of fresh roses and mint air…)

It was one of those moments I talked about, those moments of perfection that cannot be manufactured and appear of their own accord to hover like a hummingbird fluttering her wings by a flower, three, four, fifteen seconds and then gone, like the blue swirls of smoke from a cigarette in the afternoon sun –
So I stood by Cardigan Bay in Aberdovey, a sweet little village in Wales, watching families walk along the beach, children in rubber boots chasing dogs and dogs chasing sticks, couples walking hand in hand and the lean mean runners in their shiny tights and bright sneakers, sipping my coffee and basking in the few minutes of warm sun.

We spent our Easter holiday in Wales and it really was the perfect weekend getaway.   Your start with green fields giving way to golden land, mustard flowers planted so neatly and closely together it looks like god painted the land a nice bright yellow to break the rule of green, and slowly the sheep start taking over.  I think the sheep to human ratio on our trip was something like 100:1.  And the baby lambs were so adorable!  Unfortunately the closest I got to my dreams of hugging a soft fleecy lamb was on our spontaneous evening hike up a hill (led by my suddenly and surprisingly very active cousin).  As I huffed and puffed up the bumpy green hill in my not-suitable-for-trekking boots, we came within two feet of a very sweet little lamb.  Unfortunately the lamb was right next to his very stern looking mom.  She faced us head on, not breaking the death stare for even a minute and I decided not to challenge her maternal instincts, regardless of all claims about the mild sweet nature of sheep!

Aberdovey is lovely for such nature walks, with plenty of trails around the area.  When we finally reached the peak, the sun had long set but the sky was still lit enough for us to see the entire village and beyond, the sea in the distance and lights slowly starting to come on in the sky above and the ground below – angels switching on their starry bulbs and mothers and fathers turning on orange lamps in their homes.  There was a constant wind that swept through the land, making us sniffle, turning our noses red and our ear tips icy cold.
Our AirBnb was equipped with a TV, DVDs (we saw Top Gun!) and board games – Connect 4 was the popular choice with Mani and Sharik beating everyone quite consistently.

The next day we went to the Talyllyn Railway Station where we took the very slow steam engine through the beautiful countryside.  There was a consistent drizzle that only stopped every now and then throughout the ride and picked up after our adventure at Dolgoch Falls and the surreally bright green forest walk (sparkling streams, mossy green trees, waterfalls and the sweet smell of trees and rain-kissed leaves!).  However, by the time we picked up biscuits and tea from the gift shop (forced into a gift voucher when purchasing tickets!) the sky was clearing and the sun made a brief guest appearance. 

We visited the Talyllyn Lake twice – it is quite the beautiful picnic spot, a placid lake set between hills with a walk around it that we didn’t take and green boats resting like dreams in the midst, which we weren’t allowed to ride, and a very nice hotel that we did have lunch from the next day.

Our second night in Aberdovey the sky cleared up and we saw the sky glitter with stars – I tried counting them but then got tired and lost by 89…

I did love Wales.  If you’re looking to step back in time for a bit, I’d say visit Wales and hang out with mother nature.  It’s quite the soul-cleanser.  

And I can almost guarantee you a few bubbles of perfection, just floating around, waiting to land on someone’s fingertip… 


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