Exploring The Black Mountains
The United Kingdom has long been a dream destination in my mind. My fascination started at a young age, rooted in my love of legend and lore. Stories like The Arthurian Tales sparked a hunger in me for whatever lay hidden in the silver fog; be it wisps, or druids. So you can imagine the deep delight in me when I had the opportunity to catch a train from London out to the mysterious land of Wales.
Everything on this trip seemed to fall into place without my help. Previous to leaving for the UK I found out a friend of mine would be in wales during my time in Britain. It seemed only right that I would venture to meet her, and it felt fitting to be gearing up to explore the great land of wales with someone who, so long ago, inspired me through her role as a character in a great, sweeping, epic-fantasy tv show.
After navigating the train from London to Wales, and being picked up at the station by a beautiful, and lovely stranger (a friend of my friends) we embarked on the journey back to her cottage where my friend awaited our arrival. The trip to her home was everything I could have dreamed. The fog was thick, and the land wet. We zipped along narrow roads in her jeep like vehicle. Her car smelled of Bella, her old sweet black haired dog who confidently claimed a spot on my lap (which I was grateful for on so many levels). The woman herself, Mary, was kind and talkative, making me feel welcome, safe and at home.
It's funny to think back now about my experience with people, and how we are met. Mary, much my senior, in a beautiful way, oozed strength. She was grounded and wise in a way that words can't capture. Part of me believes it stems from the time she spends walking the ridges of the sweet valley she calls home. She seemed to have sapped up every bit of depth and texture the land could offer. It was from of that place that she impacted me during my stay. She made sure I was warm and fed and went out of her way to facilitate exploration.
Even though I had come into the valley under the cover of night, I wasn't sure it could get any better. My heart was already so full. But it did. Waking up the next morning was something out of a dream. The room was warm, thanks to the old school wall heater, and soft light filtered in through the skylight above my bed. I padded downstairs and found both Mary and my friend awake, tea-filled, and ready to explore. It took me but a minute to layer myself down, and pull on my boots all the while gushing inside over the fact that this land was exactly what I had dreamed it would be.
Both women laughed as I tried to contain my awe. They told me that they, neither of them, had ever seen the land like this (so covered in fog). I like to believe that God orchestrated it just for me.
Mary and Bella led the way down the muddy drive, past the sheep which my friend insisted on singing to, through the ancient graveyard thick with history to the outer reaches of The Black Mountains. Aside from a small farm we passed through, the transition from inhabited to wild land was nearly seamless. One moment we were on cobblestone and the next we were trudging through the forest which gave way to a vast and magical land.
The breadth and scope of The Black Mountains would be hard to relay through words alone, so I will leave it to pictures. But, there is no denying the tangible magic of that place. I wandered in silence, yards behind my friends, soaking up the fulfillment of something I'd held in my heart for so long.