The ups and downs of hill country

Dear Monty,

If you read this blog you will already know that like the rest of us I have both high and low points in my life experience.

Here in hill country the topography seems to rhyme with my internal sense of self - a symbiosis of the external and internal world.
I sometimes think that being a human is a largely painful experience especially when we can see the damage we cause to both our environment and one another. Then there is the exquisite painful joy of watching the light over the hills - a kind of deep yearning to be free.

Sue and me walked the old Swansea to Brecon railway line - now a cycle route and footpath. The views of this under appreciated valley are magnificent.
My mood lifted by the hills and that sudden changing light - patches of sunlight chasing the mountains lighting up the blond grasses and red bracken dried by Winter winds.

Just as suddenly my mood blackens like the sky as we drive back down to the valley floor.

Plastic bottles, take-away cartons, wrappings, plastic bags all litter the roadside verge, (the main route to the Tesco store) interspersed with daffodils and primroses trying to present themselves to bees.

This is the reality of living here. These extremes have to be tolerated otherwise it just drives you insane.

Have we become so disconnected from the hand that feeds us ? Is this the 'Land of my Fathers' that we so passionately sing about ?

This soil this earth is bone of our bones and flesh of our flesh - we work, live and die in it.

Is it that we are suffering a kind of post-industrial malaise ?

In contrast I walked the hills above Crickhowell in snow and rain with Charles Hawes. In that rural town there was no sign of litter in the byways.

This valley could be the same - beauty is here - it is just unseen by so many.

I will continue to point it out - open eyes - and continue the struggle to make beautiful spaces. I will press on to make a garden and paint frescoes of the life that my eyes see, as long as they are open.

As another confirmation - perhaps a gift - a pair of long tailed tit have decided to nest in our cypress.


Caravan for Charles (in the distance)


  1. Everything else aside, Paul, do you realise that you may have published to the webbyworld the only photograph in existence of Charles that doesn't show his double chin? No wonder he likes you.

    His photos will no doubt show lots of detrius that you missed (he's good for photos of the detrius if he can't find a caravan). Hang on, don't he and Anne now have a caravan in their car park?

    But you need to concentrate more on the positives. You look too much for the negatives and so you see them. Don't look down, look up. After all, up is where the heavens are, wot?

    1. I did photograph an abandoned caravan John - I'll add it to the blog just for him !

  2. Argh! The litter thing - horrible. So sorry you get that ruining your place. But the light - that is magic, isn't it?
    Thanks for great pic of Charles! XXxx

  3. Well, I'm looking forward to you having a litter-free day tomorrow. I'd rather be pained by beautiful light than hail-stones if it's all the same to you. And you can take pics of me from behind, to give John an alternative double-chin free view.

  4. PS. Why am I not on your blog list?

    1. Oh isn't that odd ! You know I read it but I have neglected you Charles-but you have to forgive me because I seem to have taken a flattering photo of you !


Post a Comment

Popular Posts