Lost count but another letter Monty, sorry.


"As we get older we realise that the days are more precious and half-moments of intense joy are more valuable than jewels" ( The Jewel Garden, Hodder)  I agree, but I wonder where that intensity comes from, and how it sustain us ?

I say this because of something my son said about there not being any solitude or time for quiet contemplation whilst we were climbing up Snowdon, which was full of people seeking something from the mountain. One thing though - there was a sense of common aim a unity - and complete strangers found words of encouragement to help us get to the cloud covered top.

I seem to be doing a lot of walking, perhaps I really do have to keep moving. I confess my sin of believing in God, I know he is unpopular and our belief of him has caused wars and rumours of wars, and also created a kind of ignorance of science and 'fact' based knowledge, but joy in the human heart ? Where does that come from and why do we look for joyous things ? Is it simply naked survival, or are we truly connected to a spiritual purpose greater than ourselves?

We had a tortuous drive to Beddgelert, every road had roadworks and traffic lights. When we arrived the mountains were shrouded in mist, the midges were biting, but the beer was good and so was the food. The sheep were singing and the river pounded its way down the mountain along with the train, its sulphurous smoke and steam whistling past. Beddgelert is in a small flood plain in the bowl of a valley with swifts and German tourists.

David and I climbed Snowdon from Pen-y-Pass up to the Pyg and back down via Miners. The views as always were spectacular and really did give a sense of intense joy. This place was worked, hewn by men, there is a kind of haunting of a past way of living which has gone forever. It is like the many chapels now empty or converted to homes or businesses. We get whiffs of the past with the smell of coal and steam. Perhaps I look too deep, but when we got back to our campsite David played Johnny Cash on his Ipod singing 'When the man comes around' and I could swear the trees all trembled in response.

The exiles return, just as I read this morning of the return of the exiles from Babylon to Jerusalem thousands of years ago. Here I remain a kind of exile waiting to come home - yet we are all sent.

The garden looked insignificant - but mown and pruned it came back to me, just like my paintings of landscape on the walls in my house.

Tonight landscape followed me, Snowdonia on 'Countryfile' and Riga on 'Wallander'. I had forgotten about the pigeons, faded orange floral print, 40's looking furniture and old Mercedes.

There it is again , nostalgia.

Cheers Paul.


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