In Arthurian legend, Avalon is a mystical, mythical realm, shrouded in mist and far from prying eyes. It is not so much a place, as a state of mind, and getting there requires a large dose of will-power and a little bit of magic. The air is sweet and smells of apple-blosom there, or so the stories go, and time passes at a difference pace than it does out in the real world.
And here, in the all too real world, a narrow and bumpy road that starts at the chapel of the Annunciation, leads to a fertile stretch of land that end at a second chapel, this one dedicated to our Lady of Carmel. This place beneath the towering cliffs of Dingli is known as Fawwara. Fawwara is the Maltese word for a natural spring but the root of the word, the verb fawwar, means to fill to the brim; to overflow. That is what this place does in abundance - it overflows with growth and with life.
Even during this most arid of winters that we have had, nature has worked her magic, just like she always does, and the first signs of an early spring were bursting to life all around us, so exuberantly that you could almost hear each bud and blossom pop open. The giant fennel that grows by the wayside was starting to bloom and the tenderest of green leaves were sprouting from the branches of the fig trees.
Only the vines are still oblivious to the warmth and the lengthening days, their straggly tendrils biding their time, because they will not be rushed - their secret is patience. For that I am thankful, because I know that as soon as the baby green vine leaves burst forth, summer will be upon us and for now I am content in the present.
What's more I am content with this present. With the delicious breeze and the craggy terrain; with the wild-flowers and a sky as blue as the depths of the sea. I feel drunk with the abundance of it all. The air does not smell of apple-blossom here but of wild-thyme and fennel; and no swirling mists linger, except when it rains. But legends abound and time might play a trick or two, it might even stand still or go backwards, here in Fawwara - here, in the place I call my Avalon.
Location: Fawwara, February 2016