Dear Cornwall

After living away from you for twice as long as I lived in you why do I still regard only you as home? What are the features that are combined in you in a way that I have never found replicated elsewhere and so have never really felt settled until I cross the Tamar?

Chiefly the light. So hard to define but the quality and quantity of light seems different. Bright and all enveloping it is almost as if the peninsula is floating in the light rather than the light shining on it. Small wonder that artists have been attracted to you for ages.

Which is another feature.  Art is everywhere and so the spirit is lifted by creativity at every turn. Gardens, galleries, workshops, theatre companies, brass bands, choirs – always the effort to add to the world.

Then, of course, the ocean and the rivers and streams that feed it. Cornwall is like a sponge and growing up there has left me with a need to be near water as often as possible. I feel like a human dousing rod. From the dark water sources in beautiful woods with nettle and bracken richness to the rivers, which in my youth might have flowed red or white with minerals, and at last to the salty sea by sheltered rocky coves or wide sandy beaches. The Cornish are never far from water.

It is a very singular peninsula with a history that looked to sea as much as to the mainland of the island it is attached to, with its own language and its own diaspora formed by the ‘Cousin Jacks’ who left it but who, like me, have probably never found its replacement.

Penny

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