Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Remembering St. David's Day

And for what it's worth, on the day of St. David: a small excerpt from something I posted over on my travel blog several years ago, about a pilgrimage Steve and I took in May 2006.  We began at the shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in Norfolk and then made our way west across southern England, praying at various holy places along the way, until we ended up at the shrine of St. David in Pembrokeshire, Wales.

My reflections about the visit to the shrines of David and his mother Non end with these notes:

St. David’s: the end of things. Perhaps one reason I felt perturbed as we left for here yesterday is that I sense this.

Every pilgrimage has an end. This destination is a reminder of the ultimate westering of life. What could be further west—and more cut off and distant from everything else—than those old Celtic holy sites on the western fringe of Britain?

The wildness seems to attract poets, artists, nature lovers. Long, exhausting walk to St. Non’s well in the evening, but worth it for the sea vistas, the sense of visiting a site with ancient holy roots.

So much I’m seeing demands the artist’s brush to capture it, not words.

And since that pilgrimage, I've worn a cross, a version of the ancient Celtic love-knot design, which Steve bought for me to mark the end of the pilgrimage, at the shrine of St. David.  Today, I'll wear the cross thinking of my tiny bit of Welsh blood, of forebears like Thomas and Gwenllian James and their son Griffith James, of Honour Pritchard, and George Llewellyn.

(And what a beautiful time of year to celebrate any saint's day, as jonquils burst into bloom here, along with Japanese magnolia, forsythia, japonica, and a carpet of wildflowers, from spring beauty to Quaker ladies and henbit.)

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