Monday Reads: Robert Macfarlane.

 “Woods and forests have been essential to the imagination of these islands…”

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A thousand years of hooves and feet.

I made the mistake of picking up my old copy of Robert McFarlane ‘The Oldways’, then I ended up in ‘The Wild Places’ and now I’m so lost in the wildwood that there is no hope of return, for a while anyway. If only I hadn’t started redecorating the sitting room….or stalled halfway through writing chapter three….or started the final rewrite on my manuscript (thanks to my wonderful beta readers). If only, if only…

Still, when the forests call La Loba must away.

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The Holloways.

“There is no mystery in this association of woods and otherworlds, for as anyone who has walked the woods knows, they are places of correspondence, of call and answer. Visual affinities of color, relief and texture abound. A fallen branch echoes the deltoid form of a streambed into which it has come to rest. Chrome yellow autumn elm leaves find their color rhyme in the eye-ring of the blackbird. Different aspects of the forest link unexpectedly with each other, and so it is that within the stories, different times and worlds can be joined.”
― Robert Macfarlane, The Wild Places.

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Early morning on the Oldway through Horton.

“Wild animals, like wild places, are invaluable to us precisely because they are not us. They are uncompromisingly different. The paths they follow, the impulses that guide them, are of other orders. The seal’s holding gaze, before it flukes to push another tunnel through the sea, the hare’s run, the hawk’s high gyres : such things are wild. Seeing them, you are made briefly aware of a world at work around and beside our own, a world operating in patterns and purposes that you do not share. These are creatures, you realise that live by voices inaudible to you.”
― Robert Macfarlane, The Wild Places.

Britain Autumn
Photo by Dave Thompson.

“Touch is a reciprocal action, a gesture of exchange with the world. To make an impression is also to receive one, and the soles of our feet, shaped by the surfaces they press upon, are landscapes themselves with their own worn channels and roving lines. They perhaps most closely resemble the patterns of ridge and swirl revealed when a tide has ebbed over flat sand”

― Robert Macfarlane, The Old Ways: A Journey On Foot.

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“As the pen rises from the page between words, so the walker’s feet rise and fall between paces, and as the deer continues to run as it bounds from the earth and the dolphin continues to swim even as it leaps again and again from the sea, so writing and wayfaring are continuous activities, a running stitch, a persistence of the same seam or stream.”
― Robert Macfarlane, The Old Ways: A Journey On Foot.

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A path of roots through Alderley Edge.

…the instinct and the body (the felt smoothness of pebbles, the seen grain of light) must know in ways that the conscious mind cannot.”
― Robert Macfarlane, The Old Ways: A Journey On Foot.

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