"Slarrow" refers to the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" from Hamlet's soliloquy. Here are the chronicles of such darts and whatever attempt there may be to take arms against such a sea of troubles.

Location: Ozarks, United States

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Cymru am byth!

A bit of a break from the political stuff: today is St. David's Day!

No, I didn't know what it was either. But upon learning it is to Wales what St. Patrick's is to Ireland, I am happy to celebrate it today and from now on (although first I'd have to find some leeks.) The rest of the article describes how Wales is trying to make a push toward greater prominence and investment. All right!

Wales has always captured my imagination, far more than either Scotland or Ireland (let alone bloody England.) It's at the heart of many fantasy stories (including one of my favorite series, The Chronicles of Prydain), and its history of bards and druids generated much of the legend behind Arthur, Merlin (Myrddin), and Taliesin (before it got all Frenchified by de Troyes and the like.) The Welsh are a lyrical, hardy folk with a stirring history but a need for a more vigorous future.

One of the most unforgettable times in my life was when I was standing on the hillside at Carreg Cennen Castle in the ruins of the castle there watching a pair of foxes move along a trail. The wind was high and lonely. The rushing river far below made no sound I could hear, and the green hills rolled on and on until I could imagine an invading force just showing on the distant horizon amongst the trees. In these heaps of tumbled stone, people lived and laughed and prayed and worked once, considering luxury what we might deem intolerable in this bright, shiny age.

Arguments at the time may have been settled with bow and knife, making our current cries of incivility somewhat tepid by comparison. But they might just have easily been settled by recourse to law as one neighbor would sue another over a boundary dispute. And always there is song and storytelling and a love of language that has helped an underdog retain its identity through centuries of "foreign" rule.

Ah, for a resurgence of interest in Wales, its stories, its people, its language, its future! Cymru am byth! Wales Forever!

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