Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Tor of Avalon

(In 2004, the author and his wife visited Glastonbury and the Tor)

The Journey

As we rode the train from London to Castle Cary, through the slow, cozy green countryside, I began to fancy England had gone back to its old medieval days. All the little towns outwardly no more than pinnacles, dotted here and there, sort of. Set delicately at the top of rising mounds.
       From Castle Cary, we went to Glastonbury,  where King Arthur and King Richard the Lion Heart, long ago, both drew their swords in the glistening light of the far-off meadows, of Summerset and on top of the Tor of Avalon, where the Celtics practiced there magic.
       And there I stood too, on top of the mound, looking down, on the hurried past.

The Legend

       In one way it was a long afternoon on top of the Tor, now long past. The  old ruined Abbey Tower always in sight, I  wondered up and own the mound exploring, paused long enough to stretch, came to a herd of humongous cows—broad and tall, lazily eating the long grass, and my wife paused, frightened somewhat. Then exploring its sides, I got thinking of an old legend, from the days of the old monastery of  friars: and I came to imagining looking down at the extending roots in a crevice, when the three friars  hallway up the mound found a tunnel on the wall, below the ruins, young and ignorant they wanted to search it from end to end, in spite of the precisely dangerous calamity it might bring—and as they did, currents of air snarled among the stale winds that spiraled in, from the mound’s exterior, it was all they had to breath, besides the endless tunnel’s mud and dirt and moss-shadows. Thus, throughout the labyrinth: roots  tumbling everywhere, body snagging on old useless rocks: only one friar ends up alone at the other end, half insane, half dehydrated, after a day’s wondering. His mind dry as his mouth in dire thirst, scrapped into crumbs never to be pieced back together again: appearing to have no more sense than that of a mosquito.  

#3888 (April 28-29, 2013)