Finding the Ocean

Water seeks its own level. Look at them. The Tigris, the Euphrates, the Mississippi, the Amazon, the Yangtze. The world’s great rivers. And every one of them finds its way to the ocean.” 
Alison McGhee, All Rivers Flow To The Sea

  South Wales

I found my way to the ocean, just as Vikings did many centuries ago.  Swansea, a coastal city and county in Wales, was once a thriving Viking trading post.  It is positioned on the sandy South West Wales coast. Some believe that Swansea’s name came from the Old Norse, Sveinsey, signifying a bank at the mouth of the river Tawe.

It was the start of our journey organized by our son, which we named our “Industrial Revolution” tour that covered Wales and the Midlands of England. For seventeen days, we were on the go from morning to night without respite.  One day, we clocked six hours of walking.  We visited cotton mills, travelled on steam trains, plumbed the depths of a coal mine and saw the Newcomen engine at work.

The Industrial Revolution was an extraordinary time of growth and prosperity.  It was a pivotal point in history; the dramatic shift from hand production and cottage industry to machines and manufacturing efficiency. It will come as no surprise that rivers played a fundamental role during this time. Progress was enormous, but it came at a cost.

Have you ever noticed that when you go away and then come back, you are never in the same position as you were when you first started out?  New thoughts, experiences, ideas challenge our closely held values.  So we really can’t go back to where we were…at the beginning.

Somehow that gives me great comfort.

Kites

“Every traveler has a home of his own, and he learns to appreciate it the more from his wandering.” 

 Charles Dickens

50 Comments

  1. billgncs says:

    roads are dangerous things, my friend

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    1. Clanmother says:

      They are indeed! And yet, we are compelled to take the path ahead, never knowing the outcome. Some are braver than others – I place myself in the “other” category. But when we meet kindred spirits along the way, the burden is shared.

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      1. billgncs says:

        yes, as Bilbo said in the previous quote about roads, the companions certainly showed that even the heaviest burdens can be shared, if only for a while.

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      2. Clanmother says:

        And sometimes that’s what makes the difference between hope and despair…

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      3. billgncs says:

        on your feet Merry, we must defend the king ( Eoywen, on the plains or Pelinor )

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      4. Clanmother says:

        🙂 Courage Merry, courage for our friends! – Eowyn

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  2. indiferent says:

    Intense, simple, interesting, life ! I’m glad for you ! Welcome back in virtual life !

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Is is a absolute joy to be back!!! Thank you for your warm welcome – very much appreciated! 🙂

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  3. cindy knoke says:

    “Have you ever noticed that when you go away and then come back, you are never in the same position as you were when you first started out?

    Somehow that gives me great comfort.”

    Me too. We are evolving. Incorporating.,, being…thinking.

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    1. Clanmother says:

      And I am so glad that we are on the same path – that is even greater comfort! 🙂

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  4. cracking pictures – I think the welsh have found a kindred spirit

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    1. Clanmother says:

      There is so much to see in your part of the world. Everywhere I stepped there was some historical event that happened. After a while, it became a blur. Now, I am going through the photos and all of the literature I picked up, which, I must confess added a great deal of weight to our luggage. I was afraid that I would be charged extra when we checked our bags at the airport! I’m coming back… 🙂

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  5. judilyn says:

    Swansea, as a word/name, has always intrigued me. I had forgotten where it was from. Thanks for the reminder.

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    1. Clanmother says:

      I once lived on a street called Swansea! It seems that there are many “Swansea” in this world – Toronto, Illinois, Massachusetts, Arizona, South Carolina, California, Nevada, Australia,and Jamaica!!!

      http://www.swansea.com/around-the-world.aspx

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      1. judilyn says:

        Lots to choose from. I’ll have to find the one here in Arizona.

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  6. Virginia Duran says:

    Sounds like a very interesting experience! What was the thing you enjoyed the most during your trip? Oh and glad you are back here, we’ve missed you 🙂

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    1. Clanmother says:

      My greatest overall impression was that the Industrial Revolution created enormous opportunity, even though many did not fully participate in the benefits. As for the stories – that was the very best. Our history books tell the narratives of kings, queens, generals and clergy, but I find the stories of “ordinary folk” more poignant and memorable. Without individual effort, there would not have been any progress.

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  7. Gallivanta says:

    Every time I enter WordPress, I come out a different person

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    1. Clanmother says:

      You always make me laugh out loud! I agree wholeheartedly! 😆

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  8. LaVagabonde says:

    Sounds like you had a particularly mind-expanding (in an educational sense) trip. 🙂 There’s no turning back after such a voyage.

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    1. Clanmother says:

      There is something about travelling that sparks our imagination and challenges our status quo existence. Mediocrity is the most dangerous place to be and yet, it is so easy to fall into. I find that a good adventure pushes me beyond the boundaries that I set for myself. Or as Cesare Pavese once said: “If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness and fears.” It is good to be back! Thank you for your presence and comments. 🙂

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  9. Welcome back to us !. I have been expecting such wonderful story of your journey. Thank you. 🙂 definitely true, we can not go back to where we were, neither do the waters.

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you!! You always make my day pure sunshine! 🙂

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  10. This is a great Post Rebecca 🙂

    I love the fact that you have been exploring the past like this and that you have related what you have seen back to nature.

    It’s a great point, I grow up in Manchester and as everyone in the UK will tell you it always rain’s in Manchester, it’s true 🙂

    I lived in North London for sometime and would drive home some weekends, you would get with-in 30 miles and the rain would start 🙂

    I think water played such a big part in the early years of industry and that the amount of rain in Manchester and all it’s rivers was the main reason the north west of the UK was at the hart of it’s early years.

    Great post 🙂

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you Nigel!! Vancouver is a rainforest, with a climate very much like your own. So we packed our umbrellas! I thought that we would have a lot of rain during our stay in England, but we had sunshine most days. We only had to use our umbrellas once. I am fascinated by the canal and waterway network that developed during the IR. Fascinating!

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  11. Isabella Rose Photography says:

    Lovely to have you back, dear Rebecca. Would you believe, I have never been to Swansea, or indeed to South Wales!! I feel a trip coming up. Blessings and hugs ♥

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Oh, you will love Swansea and all of South Wales. There is no question that I will return to Wales – I now consider it my home. 🙂

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      1. Isabella Rose Photography says:

        That’s wonderful. I’d love to meet up with you, if you have the time. ♥

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      2. Clanmother says:

        We will be returning next year!! So it is a date! My niece is studying dance in London so I think that we will be visiting England and Wales often. I miss the cream teas…

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  12. Ed Spadoni says:

    You were missed Rebecca! Thanks for taking us with you through the IR.

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    1. Clanmother says:

      I have learned a lot about photography during this trip. Especially the significance of documenting a moment in time. We owe a great deal to the photographers of the past. They didn’t have our fancy equipment; yet their photos are striking and a testament to their commitment to witness and record history.

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  13. mixedupmeme says:

    I hadn’t noticed you were gone because I had been out for a couple of months myself. But not because of something as wonderful as you experienced.
    When I returned I was looking for your recent posts, but there weren’t any. Now I know why. Looking forward to again reading the special treats you have for us.

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    1. Clanmother says:

      I had noticed that you had taken a break as well! Welcome back, my friend!!! 🙂

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  14. fournier0917 says:

    Very happy to see you are keeping the subject of the world’s life sustaining rivers alive and top of mind. Thank you Rebecca! Jean-Jacques

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Oh, my dear friend! I did stop by Quebec City before returning home. I walked beside the mighty St. Lawrence River and felt the crisp wind that came across the waters. It felt good. 🙂

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      1. fournier0917 says:

        If you’d sent an e-mail word we would have come to say hello. Maybe next time. JJ

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      2. Clanmother says:

        I didn’t know you lived so close!!! There will definitely be a “next time.” I loved Quebec City! Every where we went we were warmly welcomed. And oh, the fabulous food. I must confess that my high school French was rusty. So now, I am determined to find a French Class. 🙂

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  15. You have captured the joy of the journey. Never go back. What’s the point?

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    1. Clanmother says:

      I agree wholeheartedly – the point is movement! Thank you!!!

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  16. Welcome back! 🙂 Nice pictures, I especially like the kites!

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    1. Clanmother says:

      I was so happy that the “kite” pictures turned out. I didn’t think my digital camera had the power. Thank you for your warm welcome back! 🙂

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  17. arjun bagga says:

    Awesome. Looking forward to your “Revolutionary” experiences and thoughts!!

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you! I am finding that blogging helps me to integrate the ideas more firmly into my daily interactions. 🙂

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  18. Ms Frances says:

    I love what you did to the photo, very original and artistic. Yes, the industrial age changed society and the world–It will be interesting to find out what this age will be called! New and exciting things are happening——

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Exciting, indeed! We are called the Information Age, or Computer Age, Digital Age, or New Media Age. We are shifting away from the traditional industry brought on by the industrial age. Some people say that we are in the “Digital Revolution.” We are progressing – the question, as always, are all people sharing in the benefits of this progress?

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  19. For those who wander out of their minds, every moment in every day is a new day, new beginnings. You post and words are lovely, as always.

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you – your comments are always so very much appreciated!!! 🙂

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  20. Is that the beach in Swansea? That’s really quite beautiful, you look like you were high up to take that photo too! I’ve been to Wales three times, but not to Swansea. It seems I’ve missed out on a great beach!! 🙂

    I have a picture I took as a teenager of the beach in Tenby in Wales, in a way it reminds me of this beach, very wide, sweeping golden sands, just my kind of beach!! 😀 The one at Tenby has a castle on a little rock island, which is very intriguing – here’ s a link for a picture image. http://ak4.picdn.net/shutterstock/videos/2982358/preview/stock-footage-time-lapse-footage-of-sunset-over-castle-beach-in-tenby-wales.jpg

    So you’ve been travelling Britain!? Did you get to have a cream tea while you were there? 😉

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    1. Clanmother says:

      That is the beach in Swansea! There is an incredible walk that took us into the high hills above the sea. It seemed to go on forever, but was really only 45 minutes. But what a 45 minutes it was!! The sun was shining and the wind was fresh and moist off of the waves. I just went on Google Maps to see the distance between Tenby and Swansea! It seems that I must come back for there is so much more to see.

      And oh, the cream tea was absolutely the very best of all. Now, I have made it a point to have afternoon tea a tradition.

      Hugs across the pond!!!

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