Looking for Ludchurch III

The Wild Spaces Wild Magic trip November 2017

Friday afternoon

Debbie arrives. Mat descends from Ludchurch. Roger and Jane arrive. We set off back up the track, trying drier routes. We cross the bridge, and pause at the “Sentinel Tree,” the massive beech that at once makes me think of home and warns of what it to come. Who called it the Sentinel?

Up to Castle Rocks, and then on. The temptation to induct, instruct is huge, but I think it would detract, distract. In we go. The descent is a bit trickier than I had anticipated, and this is where Jane makes a leap and lands deep in the mud.

All safe beyond the crack where the mud is cocoa-brown, we leave our three new visitors to their explorations and thoughts. I am not sure I should intrude with my interpretation, except to point out that when I see them unconsciously grouped they are all looking up. I suspect that Debbie is eyeing the cliff faces with an eye to an ascent: I am glad she doesn’t go for it.

So we take our time, each of us. I show the Green Knight to Jane who takes a step back, in awe: her own poem will tell it better than I can, and the writing we all did – all, except mine very moving, personal – was very different in the end.  We disperse, explore, and, ever wanting to show off, I speak with other visitors, one of whom is telling the story of Gawain, another talking about Lord of the Rings. This latter pair I show the Green Knight, and they are happy.

That evening we read together the stanzas in which the Gawain poet seems to set out most clearly the topology. Five participants, and it is Roger who suggests we read as Lectio Divina, keeping our first thoughts short, allowing the text to do the work. Four different translations, and the ME text. Each has its own power, each, maybe, reflects the concerns of the translator.

Bedtime. Mat and I sleep shallowly. I snore, he breathes. Dawn is grey.

But Saturday does come, and breakfast, and the decision to stay here in Gradbach, rather than go out to explore the wider Garner landscape.  It is as if the Green Chapel has exerted its own pull, but maybe in reality Mat and I have not expected anything wider than this Gawain Country experience.

We return to Ludchurch.