WRITING THE LANDSCAPE
Reflections on place, language of place and spirit of place.
How the landscape is written about is something I’m exploring at the moment. That which we do not talk about, we tend not to value. If we don’t have words, or a language for something, then often we don’t pay as much attention to it anyway. With our landscapes threatened by all manner of ill conceived development, with rising urbanisation and a generation of children who are more familiar with Daleks than magpies, it seems important to me not only to talk about the land, but to make sure I’m doing that well.
My natural default when I don’t know an answer to something large, is to read books. At the moment I’m reading as much Gloucestershire orientated material as I can, because it helps to know the place being described. I started the conscious leg of this journey with Robert McFarlane’s Landmarks (even though he’s not from round here!)…
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“It’s important, I think, that both “A Thousand Laurie Lees” and “Cider with Rosie” are as much autobiographies as they are books of place. Land and life are inextricably linked.”
Interesting thought and one that, from a scientific and environmental perspective, is completely contrary to much contemporary thinking. I believe that this is where much of the environmental protection process has gone wrong – this goal of eliminating the human from the environment (ie. nature will thrive when the human impact is gone). A Canadian aborignal friend changed my perspective on conservation when she said that indigenous cultures cannot perceive of the forest without people in it. The forest is the place of the people.
This is not to say that it is false to believe that humans have a tremendous impact on nature and that removing the impact allows healing but really the healing must occur on the land and within us as well. The separation we have imposed is a false and imaginary one. We are inextricably linked.
Thanks for this comment and especially its view of the healing within us as well as in the land and recognising the link.