The commonest map of Britain is the road atlas. Pick one up, and you see the meshwork of motorways and roads which covers the surface of the country. From such a map, it can appear that the landscape has become so thickly webbed by roads that asphalt and petrol are its new primary elements.

Considering the road atlas, an absence also becomes visible. The wild places are no longer marked. The fells, the caves, the tors, the woods, the moors, the river valleys and the marshes have all but disappeared. If they are shown at all, it is as background shadings or generic symbols. More usually, they have faded out altogether like old ink, become the suppressed memories of a more ancient archipelago.

Robert Macfarlane
The Wild Places

woods and otherworlds

October 2, 2018

path

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 colour, 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 colour 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