Saturday, 6 February 2016
snowdrops, Lloyd George and riverspeak
A poetic cliché from school days is "The paths of glory lead but to the grave." (Points if you know who wrote it.) All very humbling, I'm sure, and there are no doubt those who would do well to remember it. But the paths don't only lead to the grave, because what you do en route with and for others is surely significant. This:
is the grave of and memorial to David Lloyd George, close to the village where he was raised, and to Afon Dwyfor, a most beautiful river. Lloyd George was a very influential figure in British history, and laid the foundations of the welfare state. (You knew that, of course, just trying to remind you.) He was, like any powerful person, controversial, but his paths to this lovely spot mattered a lot to our people. (All right, all right, he had trouble keeping his trousers on, but that's not quite to my point...)
Our paths earlier this week led not just to, but also from DLG's grave along the river to the wonderful displays of wild snowdrops to be found thereabouts.
Perhaps the star of the show for me was really the river. The company was good, so I didn't want to mooch about too much on my own, but I did find a few moments just to be with the river, its flow and its changes.
It was, as usual, a focus for me on the changeability of everything. A river isn't an entity, a thing, but an uncatchable flow of processes, water and air, vegetation and creatures, watchers and rocks and stones, all in an impossibly complex of undisentangleable (so why try?) elements. All this change and flow keeps me in the moment for a moment.
So this essence of processes helps me let go of the vain effort to be a solid defensible unchanging thing. Not so much going with the flow as being part of it and going nowhere but here. Belonging with it, not so separate from it.
Bah! Words. One tries.
The river had much to say to me in almost no time at all.