They are standing elevated on a raised platform in the middle which is called yn rhugl (fluent). There are bridges to cross (dros y bont) and you keep catching your clothing on the barbs of the bushes.
The things that seem to hook and snag are different for each person, but quite often, it's the degree of difference between spoken Welsh and what is taught in text books.
I spent a decade away from this maze and found that when I returned , those bushes had grown a lot higher, so I could rarely catch sight of the winners.
At least there's a guide, a teacher, to help us find the right path, though ultimately it's down to us.
Along the puzzling ways I've often taken the wrong route, shied away from asking directions in Welsh. However, I do know that I'm getting nearer to that platform and that, once there, I'll be proud to look out on a country forever changed.
My wife and family have long since left the maze : reached the centre and gazed over at those lost ones wandering and searching ; left by the exit, to enter a society which is dwyieithog (bilingual).
To them, the rewards have been considerable, not in monetary terms, but in achievements. My wife is responsible for Welsh at her English language Primary and organizes the school Eisteddfod annually. In the past her classes have competed successfully in the Urdd.
My older daughter is the Plaid Cymru spokesperson on the language, so it is fundamental to her work and also her beliefs.
My son used to write for 'Golwg' and do reports for S4C, though now he has entered the subterranean maze of the media in London, busy and frantic as the Tubes.
My young daughter is now at Welsh language Comp. and it's a daily fact of life for her. I wish though that her teachers wouldn't be so oppressive in enforcing the speaking of it : such tactics are counter-productive!
It's a sad endictment of S4C and publishing in Welsh that she and her mates all spend their time watching tv in English (often American) and only reading novels by the likes of Jacqueline Wilson.
For me, learning Welsh has always been a struggle but, since I took early retirement, the bushes of the maze have flowered and I've rediscovered a sense of direction.
While I do read magazines such as 'Lingo' and 'Acen' (now defunct unfortunately), I have found that literature is a much more enjoyable 'map'.
At present I am reading my second book in the cyfres (series) NOFELAU NAWR, Mihangel Morgan's 'Modrybedd Afradlon ' ('Reckless Aunts'). It takes a long time to get going, but lifts off half way through. I do prefer the last one I read, 'Pwy sy'n cofion Sion?' ( 'Who remembers Sion?'), where the subject-matter of a disappeared singer-songwriter appealed to me more.
I rarely watch S4C. I used to watch 'Bandit', but that has been inexplicably axed, with no apparent replacement. I try to follow the drama series 'Gwaith/Cartref' ( a Welsh 'Waterloo Road',only funnier), but find it quite difficult as the characters speak so quickly.
At level Canolradd 2, I like to think I'm half way there, gazing up at the stars and hoping for a leading one.
I have written several poems in Welsh despite my limited vocabulary and, for a while, feel I'm heading for the very centre. I can even spot those on the platform waving and shouting encouragement.
But then, I speak and stumble and lose sight of them again.
I want to be there, to write more fluently, read more readily and speak without being aware of how far it is, how short a distance I've actually travelled.
Cymraeg is not just a reclamation of my nation's and family's past, it exists for me in a modern literature I want to grasp and many songs I listen to daily yet can't fully comprehend : by the likes of Lleuwen, Huw M., Meic Stevens and, above all, Geraint Jarman who, it seems to me, has never had the credit he deserves.
The melyn melyn (bright yellow) of gorse flowers light my way and the berries from bramble are words I pick and savour.
Y Geiriau Cymraeg
‘Croeso pawb!’ I welcome.
They are all tenses in one.
They cannot decide whether
to stand or sit down.
They came straight from school,
yet are dressed for a period drama.
They remind me of my ancestors :
the haulier of Cilfynydd
and estate manager of Wenvoe.
They pick up magazines and cds,
switch on the tv and join in
like friends of the family.
They are strangers here
despite familiar-sounding names.
I wish they’d linger longer :
‘’steddwch lawr!’ I demand.
When they leave, their echoes
insist I raise my pen.
Notes - y geiriau Cymraeg - the Welsh words
croeso pawb - welcome everyone
‘seddwch lawr - sit down