A town reinvented, a self reinvented

Our recent trip to the UK was unplanned. Mum died, Jane was presiding at the funeral. We took a few days prior to get over jet-lag and find a quite place. We happened on Whitehaven on the  north west coast of England in the County of Cumbria. We had never been there before, and were surprised by its raw beauty—towering cliffs, rare bird life, a winsomely pretty harbor, and a railway literally on the edge of the sea. 
We were haunted, too, by Whitehaven's history. 
Close by is St. Bee's Priory—St. Bega of Celtic lore. Daughter of an Irish king, Bega refused to marry the man of his choosing. She fled in a small boat and landed on the Cumbrian coast. She lived the life of a hermit, cared for the local people, and so became a saint. The village was named after her, and monks formed a priory there in 1120. What became Whitehaven is a enchanting seven-mile walk along the cliffs. We made pilgrimage. 
Statue of St. Bega, St. Bees
With the beginnings of industrialization, the area was reinvented as one of England's premier mining towns. Whitehaven had the deepest shaft in the realm. Mining tentacles reached far under the Irish Sea. Deaths in the pits were common (four every day in England during the nineteenth century). Whitehaven's worse disaster was in 1910 when 136 men and boys died following an explosion in the Wellington pit. In 1922, 39 died at the Haig pit. Children as young as seven or eight worked sixteen hour shifts deep in the mines, in pitch darkness. A plaque commemorating the demise of the pits quoted a miner long dead, "On their first introduction to the mines the poor little victims struggle and scream with terror at the darkness." 
But here was the strange irony: despite the appalling conditions of life in the mining town, modern Whitehaven is replete with nostalgic longing for the days of coal. By all accounts (and I have seen the old photos) the town and harbor were a scummy mess of coal dust and grime—its sandstone buildings, as in the Manchester of my youth, turned black by industry. 
Whitehaven was gradually cleaned up after the last pit closed in 1985, following the heart-wrenching miners strike and the breaking of the miners' union by Margaret Thatcher. Today a relatively clean town, most workers are connected with the Sellafield Nuclear facility, on the coast just south of St. Bees—a cleaner energy, but with its own worries. The town is trying out tourism as a major industry, but is struggling.
Whitehaven seemed to me to be a mixed-up town. I tried to get in touch with its energy—so much sadness in its past and present, but tinged with hope for a better future. I sensed something regenerative about Whitehaven—an ability to face its past and reinvent itself over time.
It caused me to look inward. Is that the way it is with the self? Mixed up for sure. Sadness tinged with regret, but ultimately hopeful?
The writer of the apocryphal Wisdom of Solomon said:
God didn’t make death. God takes no delight in the ruin of anything that lives. God created everything so that it might exist. The creative forces at work in the cosmos are life-giving. There is no destructive poison in them. The underworld doesn’t rule on earth.
A self reinvented, recreated, full of life, unruled by the underworld. Seems right.
Be well,
+Ab. Andy