The weather in England is so changeable, that's why us Brits are forever discussing the weather as a topic of conversation - it becomes part of who we are - forever ingrained in our cells. I visited Pembrokeshire in Wales, UK recently, and true to form the weather changed day to day and unfortunately for me, not for the better.
Pembrokeshire is a lovely part of Wales - mostly quite rural with small towns and some picture postcard seaside towns like Tenby. However, the draw for me is St. David's on the farthest south-western point jutting out from the peninsula. St. David's, the place, is so called due one of the holiest men of Wales and their patron saint, born at about 500AD. An historic cathedral was built in his name and in its time was one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Christendom. That all has past, but the cathedral still stands and attracts a host of tourists from around the world. A little further out, off the beaten track, if you care to explore is the supposed spot that he was born and raised - a small chapel sits here named after David's mother, St. Non, as well as a sacred spring whose water's are said to heal the sick.
Even after all the centuries have passed, here you still feel the past pushing against the present; fervent Christianity has waned here, belief in saints and healing water are now no more than curiosities. However, the area is so steeped in its history that you can still feel this exude from the granite it sits on. When I visited, the weather closed in, the sky turned grey, a stern breeze blew and it rained and rained. Far from putting a dampener on my holiday the weather somehow lent an ethereal feel to the place - the light was not just grey, there was a shifting of subtle hues which gave rise to a mood that almost made you feel time could shift easily and magically from the present to the past. There was nothing else to do with my time here except explore and when the weather further closed in, sit quietly and allow the atmosphere to soak in. It's little wonder this area draws so many artists to live in or paint the place. As I sat on the headland being somewhat battered by the weather, I could not help but feel imbued with the history and rugged beauty surrounding me.
I have always had a connection with nature. As a kid I would be fascinated by whatever I could find in my garden - what we as adults find ordinary, was extraordinary to me then. I even remember as a toddler sitting watching ants industriously scurry by, I'd watch spiders spin webs and wrap up flies, I'd try and find caterpillars, so that I could put them in a jam jar and watch them turn into hard, crusty crysalis's; then transform into butterflies...mostly 'cabbage whites' as I recall. I was just amazed by the enormous variety of life and lifeforms, of colour, of everything living. I have two older brothers who brought home a plethora of unusual pets - grass snakes, toads, lizards, stick insects. As I grew older, I'd watch and feed the garden birds and then later, we did have some more usual pets - a goldfish from a fair, a mouse saved from a zoological supplies shop, gerbils and fancy rats; we never had a dog or cat. I would also watch all the David Attenborough nature programmes on TV, read natural history books too and my favorite place to visit was the zoo - I got to be pretty knowledgeable about the flora and fauna around me. Much later, I almost read Ecology at University rather than Art. Almost.