Art, Books, Don and Wen, Photography, travel

Going West: A ‘Misty, Moisty Morning’

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We had enjoyed two glorious days of sunshine in Pembrokeshire. Drawing back the curtains of a room that had boasted a clear view of the sea the night before, it seemed that the morning would bring us a different view of Wales. Heavy sea-mist clung to every bush and every blade of grass was bent beneath the weight of water. I forced protesting feet back into the confinement of walking shoes. Like it or not, I would need the secure grip they offered on the slippery path. The rain fell doggedly… not heavily, just enough to stoically resist any attempt at intrusion by the sun and ensure that we would be thoroughly drenched. It would make photography difficult, with a constant search for some dry shred of clothing to clear the lens, but there was something entirely fitting about the mist.

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The coastal path we would be walking is beautiful in the sunshine. The waters are crystal clear, with every pebble visible through the shifting sparkle of blue and turquoise. In the mist, you walk outside of time in a landscape full of mystery. Islands, barely seen through the veil, seem to hover as if magically suspended and you get a glimpse of how the oldest legends were born… and why Wales is hailed the birthplace of so many of them. Every so often a window would open through the mist, revealing the promise of beauty, just for a moment, before swallowing the tantalising vista. The cliffs became a place of ghosts and forgotten voices that whispered in the rain.

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The mist softened the distance between the leading party and the few of us walking at a slower pace, making each cluster of souls an island in the brume. For once, I was reluctant to hurry on and catch up, in spite of the rain… there is something quite unique about the sea-silence that seems to gather at the edges of the heart, waiting to share its secrets.

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We were walking what must once have been part of a pilgrim route along the cliff tops. To our right, fields and flowers waved bowed heads in the invisible breeze. Beneath us, to the left, small rocky bays invited exploration on brighter days. The saturated earth glowed with countless shades of vivid green, splashed with the colours of summer. From every cliff, ancient faces seemed to watch the way to the little chapel that was our goal.

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When the diminutive shape of St Non’s finally emerged from the mist, I greeted the sight with mixed feelings. It is a place I have long wanted to visit and I was very glad that finally, I was about to do so. It would undoubtedly be good to shelter from the weather for a little while too and simply sit in the quiet of the chapel, resting my unforgiving feet. But there was a part of me that was in no hurry to leave the mists and return to the ‘real’ world; the warmth and friendship in the human voices of my friends would drown the chill song of the western seas that calls to some far memory whose shade haunts my blood.

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26 thoughts on “Going West: A ‘Misty, Moisty Morning’”

  1. Sue, as I’m reading your story it’s dark outside and there’s a strong wind whipping against the house. Not what you portray here, but more reminiscent than the bright Spring days we’ve been having lately Down Under. I particularly loved the last photo with the silhouette of the building just visible through the mist.
    I have also experienced the troubles of clearing mist from the lens of my SLR and getting caught in the rain. Getting the shot versus saving one’s camera gear can be challenging at times.
    Take care & best wishes,
    Rowena

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      1. Oh yes! I went down to the beach to photograph these really menacing purple clouds. Got some great photos and just as the rain fell, I eaded for the car, but just managed to get in when a huge hailstorm hit. The kids were home alone and I arrived home afterwards to find my son on the phone to emercy saying Mummy was out in the storm and our back roof and been smashed and rain was pouring in. The car also ended up with hail damage. The hail swept up the beach and our car windscreen took the brunt of it. I’m surprised it didn’t smash. The sound was terrifying and I thought of Major Tom up in space in his tin can at the time. I’ve been more careful with my cloud chasing since then!!

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  2. Gorgeous pictures.

    My ancestors on my father’s side were mostly from Ireland, Wales, and Scotland. My maternal grandmother was of Irish descent and my maternal grandfather was French Canadian. There is something very compelling about a misty vista where light sensitive eyes can get a reprieve from the sun. It’s as if the ancestral memories still live inside us.

    That said, I was born in Florida and anything under 70 is winter to me. 🙂

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  3. As someone with the great good fortune to live near the Pembrokeshire coast, I loved this account. Your beautiful, unique descriptions resonated deepy with me. You have a great eye and ear for beauty.

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