Sunrise in the Welsh valleys is a bit of a misnomer. The mist lies low like a blanket and distorts the landscape, as if seen through gauze. The dull morning light fashions a scene full of shadows and silhouettes. If mornings are any barometer, the eventual appearance of the sun is not a foregone conclusion. Waiting alone in a gravel lot outside the town of Abergavenny, near the border of England, I am staring into this dreamscape that counts for dawn in Wales. I have come here to clear my head. More than that: I have come here to find balance.
I am about to meet the strangers who will be my companions on a nine-day, 100-mile walk from Holy Mountain to Bethlehem, christening a new path traversing Brecon Beacons National Park. The sky begins to brighten, highlighting the rising mist and fallen stones of an abbey in the distance. It’s all a little dramatic, almost too well constructed; yet it perfectly suits my sense of the theatrical. The first of the cars turns into the lot, and I know, taking in a deep, deep-breath, that I have come to where I need to be.