Have you ever felt drawn to a place, or a history, or a language, in a way that you can’t explain?
For many years, I’ve been fascinated by Wales, the Welsh countryside, and the Welsh language. I’ve tried, quite a few times, to learn the language (which is not an easy one, with all of its myriad mutations). I’m not naturally a left-brained person, and as I’ve gotten older, my powers of memory have waned. In the last year, though, I’ve discovered DuoLingo, and have made more progress in learning Welsh than in all of the years prior.
It’s a fascinating language, though I don’t know that I could call it “beautiful.” It can sound, at times, rather primitive. Yet, it may be that ancient tone and rhythm that vibrates within me and seems so very familiar.
I’m of British/Celtic heritage, and as far as I know, most of the ancestry that has been traced (which isn’t much) has led to the area around Liverpool. My maiden name was Stubbs, which is very English in origin. I have no concrete evidence that my ancestors originally hailed from Wales. Many years ago, however, I met a lady in the most random way who set me wondering.
I’d been visiting a friend in Virginia, and it was time to go home. It was nearly Thanksgiving (in fact, right around this time of year). I’d gotten on the bus in D.C., and looked shyly around for an empty seat. An older woman looked up at me, slid over to the window, and patted the seat next to her. I thanked her, and sat down. She said, in a very British accent, that she normally didn’t like to let strangers sit with her, but there was “something about me” that spoke to her. Within a few moments of talking, I discovered that her maiden name was Stubbs. The coincidence was uncanny, and we laughed, wondering if we were related. She revealed, during the course of our long trip, that most of her people were from Wales, and that Stubbs was quite a popular surname in the area of her family’s origins.
I don’t know if that is true of all of Wales, but it may be what sparked my desire to learn more about the country. The more I have learned, the more connected I feel to the area, and the more I wonder if, in fact, some of my own many-great grandparents may have been Welsh.
Over the years since, I’ve often felt drawn to Welsh legends, history, stories, and images. I am a serious home-body (I border on reclusive, to be honest) and really have no desire to travel. Wales is the only exception; I would love to see Wales before I leave this planet. I don’t know, due to the fact that we are pretty much a hand-to-mouth family, if that will ever happen, but the longing is there.
It was also not long after meeting this lady that I first heard examples of the Welsh language, which increased my interest and started me on my on-and-off efforts to learn it.
Logically, it really makes no sense that I would be so strongly drawn to Wales. I suspect, therefore, that the connection, whatever it is, is probably not a logical one, but more spiritual in nature. It’s a mild mystery that probably will never have a solution, so I just continue to learn and explore. If I’m really lucky, some day I may even be able to haul myself across the ocean to see the country with my tired old American eyes.
I believe it’s not uncommon for people to feel pulled toward things that really don’t make logical sense. Is it because we are in some way still connected to the experiences of our ancestors? Is it because the spirit of those places, objects or stories have, in fact, discovered something special about us? Have we been summoned by them? When it happens, it does rather feel like a “calling.”
Have you experienced such a calling that you can’t explain? I would love to hear about it!
Above photo: Dolbardan Castle, Llanberis Gwynedd, Wales