The air is hot here, even when the wind blows. Every afternoon the wind picks up. It comes sweeping across the valley from the distant mountains – ancient rock faces on the horizon. The wind in the trees sounds almost like the ocean. It is strong and steady as distant crashing waves. By 10 o’clock in the morning the sun is baking. Shade and water are the only relief, along with insides of the old sandstone cottages built hundreds of years ago for farm laborers. If you keep all the doors and windows closed the air inside feels almost as cool as water.
There is a dam at the top of the village that looks out over the mountains. The water is pretty low thanks to the relentless sun, but it is still a lovely relief from the heat. Swimming in fresh mountain water feels to me like childhood. It feels like something wild and free, like something cleansing and wholesome and pure. Who knows what is actually in that water, but the effect of it – of being immersed in water brought to earth by God while overlooking His great land – is inspiring. It reminds me of swimming as a child in the rivers of North Carolina or getting swept along by waves in the Gulf of Mexico.