It was a cool, wet, misty morning. As I stepped out of the back door to start the daily chores, a movement caught my eye. Overhead a heron flapped slow, silent wingstrokes across the sky, unhurried and graceful for all its size. Isolated from sounds by the enveloping misty drizzle, it was a moment outside time. I could just as easily have been an Iron Age woman starting the day outside her roundhouse, suddenly transfixed by the ghostly appearance of the breathtaking bird.
This old, magical land often feels to me like there are many strata of time and experience overlaid into an almost tangible fabric. I often feel that if I were just a little more sensitive, a little more attentive, I could break through the veil into the thousand other lives and experiences which are woven into an exquisite yet delicate pattern, telling the story of this land through the ages. Neighbours have told me that the lane we are on was once a Roman Road; there are standing stones and ruined castles nearby; sometimes in the garden I turn up pieces of broken china, the fragile bones of a deceased vole, a child's lost toy, a cobbler's last (our house was originally owned by a cobbler). The stories this land has to tell, if I only knew how to ask, or to hear.
This part of the country is the supposed birthplace of Merlin. Truth or myth, it seemed credible on such a morning, as the silent, elegant heron flapped enigmatically away into the mist.