The bards and singers of Wales have always extolled the country’s landscape of mountains hills, valleys and rivers. This land of my fathers (the opening of the official national anthem) is both ‘wild Wales’ and by popular appropriation ‘the green green grass of home’. Wild or benign in myth and legend as well as real history this land is imbued with particular meaning: hiraeth, an untranslatable condition compounded of endless yearning, loving and longing, presence and absence that underpins one’s relationship to home and transmutes it into a moral, even some say ‘religious’ landscape. To the Welsh our land is always old and little and oh so meaningful because it is history in every sense of the word and this history is an ever present witness to the belonging of this people to this place. The clouds of witness, all who have gone before, are ever with us and this being Wales they frequently shower and deluge us not only with rain but also with moral judgement. We are forever conscious of what Dylan Thomas dubbed the ‘Thou shalt not on the wall’ the fashion for prominent display of censorious moral texts as cautionary reminder to the populace of the certainty that their every activity is observed and known and therefore they better be as good as they should. The landscape too is witness. It records what we are and have done and urges us to remember and learn from our misdeeds – but do we? Or is this land I love acquiring the forgetting that is becoming the norm of the unfolding global relationship to the natural world?

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