Saturday, 30 May 2009
The Glastonbury Experience
I did not expect to find a labyrinth laid out in the church yard of St John The Baptist in Glastonbury. Though why I do not know, as in this town anything goes. Multi faiths co-exist side by side without too much prejudice. You are not judged by what you wear or what you believe. It can be quiet refreshing to come here and be one with all around you. We have been coming to Glastonbury Town since Troy was Two and a Half, (he's nine now), staying a few days or a year depending on our fancy. This time we have been here for a week, catching up on old friends and places. It is only a small town but has a myriad of shops, catering for the tourists mostly. There is fantastic book shop here, where you can pick up some good bargains, along with unusual titles. The locals do not really bat an eye at all the visitors, as it is their main stay of income. There are always things going on at the town hall and assembly rooms, so it can be busy all year round.
As we walk in from the campsite we hardly meet anyone, and even as you approach the high street things seem ghostly quiet. Then as you round into the Market Square it can sometimes be difficult to see the pavement for the throng of feet traversing up and down the town. They are all off to their special destinations to gain that Glastonbury Experience.
This time we walked the Labyrinth and spent time in the Church. The architecture is amazing, beautifully carved pews and special chairs with wooden pegs as joints. There is a Green Man carved into the ceiling along with blues ceilings and stars. Exactly how it should be as one.
I had the feeling three weeks ago that I should learn to draw a Labyrinth, now I know why! I needed to draw it to walk it. It can make you feel heady and in need of some grounding when you come out. Yes even one as open as this can lift your energy.
Later the same day we headed for the Tor. We have walked this so many times, but each time it holds something new. There are two routes to and from the Tor, and usually we use both coming and going. This time we were going to walk, yes the Labyrinth around the Tor to the top, so had to start and finish from the same place. There is a beautiful wooden handrail up the path, especially for my poor old son, who finds this part quiet grueling to say the least. Then through the kissing gate to the outer field and the second kissing gate.
Now where do we start? I have a map a friend gave me, but it's difficult to find the start of the Labyrinth. We pick a part and I become uneasy. I'm not on the right level. Never mind we plod on, then we take off our boots. The earth feels so rich beneath our feet the grass so succulent. On no cow pats. I forgot the cows inhabit this land as well. We must also beware of thistles growing in the grass. Our little dog is enjoying racing on ahead, running through the longer grass. I can't quiet get in the spirit of things, and Troy is beginning to get a bit restless. How long before we get to the top, those sort of comments.
As we come to a concrete path I make a bold decision. Right boots on and upwards along the conventional path that takes us round the south east side.
Sometimes the Tor looks so far away others just above you it can be very disconcerting to the senses. This path looks as though it just disappears into the ground. Troy finds a cork in his pocket which Willow immediately snaps up as a plaything. So the rest of the walk up is concerned with throwing the cork and watching our little dog leap about to chase and catch it. She is having a wail of a time bounding up and down the slopes. Enchanting all those who pass us by.
The sun plays with the colours as we continue on our way, and as we round the hill it suddenly becomes darker and cooler as the sun hides behind the tower on top. We know it is still there as pale light exudes from the sky above, but the rays are not dazzling, sprinkling the ground with glitter, as before.
At the top you can see for miles. To the south east it is mostly farm land and villages, to the south west you can just make out Wells. The smallest City in England. Troy loves it up here you are so free and can imagin your self anywhere. He always says he can see the end of the world. This time he said `if I went right over there it would not be the end of the world'. How his thoughts have grown along with his stature.
A welcome rest and drink after the long haul up, as I busy myslef taking photos round and about. This is where the previous pearl of wisdom was deliberated upon as he sat taking in the surroundings. Willow is still busy rushing here and there, sniffing the grass and chasing her cork.
I still find it strange to find just this tower on the top. No other building or remanants of one are to be seen. It is called St Micheals Tower, but I'm still not sure of the story behind it. Although there is a plaque on the inside with information on. My mind can not absorb the details. Like all history it can be a bit vague.
It was beautiful and cool sitting inside the tower, and I was struck by the light refracting through the window spaces. The rainbow effect through the west facing aperture made me feel warm inside. Then as I looked up I felt as though I was in the bowels of the earth peeking up into the light and my way out. This does not feel as though it was just a tower once upon a time. More like a place of quiet and solitude. Well I feel very at peace whenever I sit in here.
As you look through the sun blots out what is on the other side, and can make you feel like you are stepping into another world. What awaits you as you step through the brilliant light, it can only be of your making. For us it is the descent and the lush colours which await our eyes. We have been followed by a butterfly all the way up and now on the way down. So I took a photo, but you can't really see it. Sorry no zoom, but it was a pretty brown and amber coloured one. I felt honoured by it's company. Once I had it's mug shot it disappeared into the blue yonder.
As we look back it always amazes us how far up we have been. Almost to the sky and back. It is never an ardous journey, more a pleasure to be treading the path of many a pilgrim or local. You meet so many different people at the top, all reveling in the view and atmosphere created up that far.
I find the best time to climb is morning or late afternoon. Some day I will do it just as day breaks, and watch the colours burst forth into the light