For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Wild Creatures

Wilderness without wildlife is just scenery. Quoted of an American wilderness expert by REBECCA SOLNIT in her book Wanderlust: A History Of Walking

So few wild creatures, relatively, remain in Britain and Ireland: so few, relatively, in the world. Pursuing our project of civilisation, we have pushed thousands of species towards the brink of disappearance, and many thousands more over that edge. The loss, after it is theirs, is ours. 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

3 comments:

George said...

I like both of these quotes, and relate to each. Having access to wildlife, as well as wilderness, has a way of putting us in our proper place, reminding us that we are here to share the bounties of earth with others, most of whom we can never hope to understand.

HKatz said...

I enjoyed Wanderlust and also wrote down excerpts from it that struck me. Like this one:

Walking, ideally, is a state in which the mind, the body, and the world are aligned, as though they were three characters finally in conversation together, three notes suddenly making a chord.

The Solitary Walker said...

George - yes, we commonly sentimentalise and anthropomorphise nature for all kinds of reasons, don't we? - so I think it's important to counterbalance this, and recognise and respect the essential 'otherness' of nature.

And that's a wonderful quote from 'Wanderlust', HKatz...