Sunrise in the Welsh valleys is a bit of a misnomer. The mist lies low like a blanket andÂ distorts the landscape, as if seen throughÂ gauze. The dull morning light fashions a sceneÂ full of shadows and silhouettes. If mornings are any barometer, the eventual appearance of theÂ sun is not a foregone conclusion. Waiting aloneÂ in a gravel lot outside the town ofÂ Abergavenny, near the border of England, I amÂ staring into this dreamscape that counts forÂ dawn in Wales. I have come here to clear myÂ head. More than that: I have come here toÂ 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. Itâ€™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.