I was little when I learned the word “eisteddfod” and a little older when I learned the plural, eisteddfodau. The final syllable is pronounced to rhyme with “eye.” Those two Ds in the middle are a TH sound, like “the.”
We had a Welsh alphabet hanging in the house amidst carved wooden love spoons, photographs, heirlooms, and family mementos; all that survived the circumstances we’d grown through. I knew a little of where those things came from and what they meant.
I was much older when I came to understand more about what had happened to the Welsh.
All the eisteddfodau I engaged with and all the kind people who supported me, but I didn’t anticipate this kind of apocalypse. As I reclaim those neurons… rediscover those communities for what they are now, and possibly what they meant to me previously… there is a distinct absence of group singing.
Not for a lot longer, though, I think.
All the instruments are broken, but some of them still sound.
Slight and tuneful clip-clops of natural movement through quiet streets, the Internet brought to me.
Those are handsome goats. Let’s wish them well.
I never was in North Wales, though I tried. I was south in Swansea, then a few years later, Ebbw Vale.
I was wandering through little alleys, bridle paths, hills and havens; early in the misty morning, I went running. The mountains were broad and tall with clouds among them. The green and growing things shared energy with me. Awen and Nwyfre, I should think. And I do. These are memory nutrients with deep roots.
The photos I took then are blessings to me now without me having even found them. They made profound impressions. My cells hummed.
Really, everything was humming.