Wales was never part of my past. Nor was it even on the edge of my awareness until several decades of my life had passed. I did not learn the lessons of life ar lin Mam yn yr Hen Wlad but in the urban Californian American home of European-descendent-parents in a wildly multi-cultural extended family, through the Western, English-inflected canon under the umbrella of Rome. But:
The night before we left Malibu for Wales, a street I had never seen arose in a dream I didn’t know I was having. A miniscule, meandering street – miniscule that is, relative to the great swathes cutting across Southern California without regard to geomorphology or aesthetics – those impatient ten-lane slashes in the landscape, runways to the next and temporary high. I still love those skyways to nowhere and everywhere, but there are other, dearer paths in the mind now. Now. After Wales.
I recognise this dreamstreet now of course – it is the part of Bridge Street in Llanbedr Pont Steffan (coming in from Cwmann) that curves gently around to the left, just before the A1 Decorating Shop and the Sosban Fach on one side, and Lloyd’s Pysgod a Sglodion on the other. It was a stone street – still is, I imagine, under the asphalt of the last century, as were and are the buildings, as I now know, having lived in more than one of them.
In the dream, the buildings were all slate coloured and opaque – except, as is the way of dreams, for a flexible membrane of stone that reached across the road, formed somehow by centuries of communion between these buildings whispering to each other their dry and stony secrets. That was translucent, but stone still, as though the breath expelled in the telling of these secrets must needs manifest in some concrete measure – the word becoming Stone, in fact, rather than Flesh.
In any case, it seemed in the dream that everything was made of living stone and as I stood at the bend in that road, I felt for the first time a hiraeth so profound and so familiar that I was compelled to cry out in an equally dry and mineral voice five fairytale words – five childish singsong words that remain both magical and operative to this day: “Stonepeople, stonepeople, let me in!” At that refrain, the buildings separated slightly, turned, looked into me with their deep and windowed eyes and parted – and I stepped across an invisible threshold into Wales.
~Harrison Solow, The Bendithion Chronicles
 ‘At Mother’s knee, in Wales’ (lit. ‘the old country’ which does not at all have the same connation as that phrase does in America, where it always means the country of origin of an immigrant who has come to the USA. In this sense it has a meaning of ‘our ancient land’, which actually refers to time as much as place).
Causes Harrison Solow Supports
Lupus Foundation of America
Museum of Tolerance