This evening I thought there would be little to see until the sun was close to setting, in another 45 minutes. It was grey and rainy all day. Then, without warning, the clouds parted and distributed god-rays over the ocean, and all surfaces, on water and land, are sparkling.
This part of N. Wales is a patchwork of stone-walled fields, a crazy quilt dotted with the cottonball sheep that are ubiquitous in the region. There are crazy rugged mountains to the east, and a vast ocean to the west. This time of year, the weather can change quickly, but benevolently, and as the clouds have risen from the sea to meet the sinking sun, I can see by the layers and textures it will be a stunning sunset. The wonder of it is, I’m watching from my cottage kitchen, situated in an old train station in a small village called Llwyngwril on the west coast of Snowdonia National Park.
Why Snowdonia? I have a good friend from Prestatyn, up near the northeastern border of the park. Through our mutual Facebook entries, I saw some photographs of the area, and was stunned. I had never heard of this place! So over the last five or six year, I’ve been paying a little attention to the area.
When my sweet Mama died in October last year, I decided to use part of my inheritance (that she and my daddy worked so hard to nestegg for their kids) on a mid-life solo walkabout. My very first thought was Snowdonia and Outer Hebrides of Scotland. Not an obvious choice, perhaps — I live in a place of mountains and ocean and forests and great natural beauty. Why not an ancient European city, or the Indonesian islands of Bali? Or the stark glacial landscape of Iceland? Or any one of a hundred places I want to see?
All I can say is, I decided, I acted quickly, I planned for months, and here I am on the second leg of my many-part journey. And as I try to think of an iconic photograph that represents my journey thus far, I can’t decide if it’s the sweeping mountainous vistas, the Bronze Age burial site, the 13th Century castle, the drooping bluebells, or the endless green fields and their charming ovine denizens. My feet lapped by the waters of a different ocean seems somehow appropriate.
I will be writing more in the days to come to celebrate this amazing, friendly, ancient country. I am honored to be here, blessed and lucky beyond measure, and thrilled that my intuition of the trip I needed landed me here.