Sunday, September 25, 2016

Away and home

Coming home
I've been away in London for much of September, an enjoyably rich and emotionally satisying time which is already reduced in my mind to its essentials:  great food (in great amounts) and even greater friends. Nevertheless, the sight of the Breton coast in a glorious dawn over St Malo always raises the heartbeat as home grows closer and by the time the train rattles westward out of Rennes, I am mentally salivating in anticipation. Within an hour of reaching the longed-for destination, I am out in the forest, feeling a familiar blanket of peace and calm settle on my shoulders, smoothing out the last London frazzles, and bringing me back to the fulfilment of here and now.
Since then I have been working, and having fun, as a guide to American tour operator, Mindie Burgoyne, ( and her husband Dan. We have packed the last two days with visiting natural wonders in the forest, megaliths on the moors and elsewhere, and churches demonstrating the complexity of religion in Brittany, where paganism is never far from Christianity.
Enclos at Guimiiliau
Now I must get back work and finish my book on the Little Landscapes of Finistere before returning, after a ten year break, to fiction.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

The Chaos of Mardoul

Water’s words to stone here are alternately loving and savage, caresses turn violent, stroking becomes a slap. In wild weather it is a seething insistence of water. All that rock can do is hold to itself, edges rounded to ease the onslaught and survive the longest time under a constant assault that is both smooth and brutal. It’s an unequal contest in the end. The river can spread to mount its challenge: the rocks have no more movement in them. In dancing steps the water constantly changes direction, twisting, turning, preening round its static partner, forming shapes and ritual traces, like little tripping thoughts of happy times. As water tires of obstacle, there’s the trumpet of torrent and torment, a surge of force. Under an angry wind, white-topped waves rage down the valley. In gentler times, with little explosions of foam like a series of sneezes, it glides as clear as glass down a shelf of rock. The old war between rock and water is a lost cause for the remnants of another earth. The river will have its way, hard or easy.