“From the tail end of winter into spring and summer, at new moons I would go nightwalking in an effort to put Bear’s theory of fearlesness and defiance into practice. I’d strike off into the black trackless forest blinded. Offer my body to whatever harm this place might wish to do me. Try to see surviving the night not as suicide averted or botched but as proof that I could rest easy against this malignity or indifference of the universe and refuse to fear the world I occupied. A way to own it in the memory of my body….On many occasions I sat lost in the woods, waiting for dawn to light the way home, feeling that Bear would be proud of me for having fought the universe to a draw” (Charles Frazier, Thirteen Moons).

There’s a shamanism to mountain walking which you see here in Frazier’s wonderful book. You engage with the elements. Bear is a Cherokee Indian and adoptive father of the narrator. I don’t advocate shamanism as a source of meaning or direction for life as other cultures have. That’s retrogressive and silly. I do advocate it as exercise for mind and body to remedy sick conditions of modern living. The Rhinog area in south Snowdonia is a fine place for it. Rhinog Fach is here to the left and Rhinog Fawr to the right. Directly ahead you find the Cwm Nantcol valley. Not far from there you find the sea. For a few seconds the light was extraordinary. I had to work fast to capture this moment.

 

Mountains of Wales: Rhinogs

Saturday December 13, 2014