A British friend posted a Welsh flag to Facebook in honor of St. David’s Day. I had forgotten, if I ever knew, that March first belongs to Cymru as surely as March seventeenth belongs Eire. Little more than a fortnight passes between these Celtic cultures’ celebrations.
The month begins with red dragons flown above and daffodils blooming around the medieval castles built to turn “Welsh Marches” from blood-soaked borderlands to feudal fiefdoms.
The nascent spring skips across the Irish Sea to celebrate the shamrocks growing atop the Rock of Cashel.
The rest of the year belongs to imperial English elites in Oxbridge colleges and London banks.
March belongs to the barbarian ghosts whispering Gymraeg and Gaelige wisdom among the stones of the Brecon Beacons and the Burren.
Yesterday, the day before St. David’s, a young man sat in my office and seduced some eager students with tales of his summer study in Wales. Scaling shale cliffs and scrambling down mines infused his imagination with the power of Wales past, present, and future as powerfully as his hours in Cardiff classrooms.
Tomorrow, I’ll reminisce with a young woman still struck by her adventures on the Emerald Isle and its perilous place between centuries of hate and a historic peace.
Revel in this month of mist and myth whether in Aberystwyth, Akron, or Athenry.
I intend to raise a steaming mug with my young friend and toast the spirit of spring.