The Wild Places by Robert MacFarlane

Chrome yellow autumn elm leaves find their
color rhyme in the eye-ring of the blackbird.
You don’t need me to tell you how totally wonderful this book is. You’re no doubt so far ahead of me on this one that anything I could add would be as spit is to the ocean.


It’s erudite, but not condescending or patronizing; it kindles a fire that is latent in us all, even in those who refuse to acknowledge its presence, one which burns for a connection to nature and the natural world; and it made me want to climb straight up the nearest tree.

But you knew that already.

It also re-opened for me the door to Roger Deakin, one of my forgotten heroes, an author and pioneer who lived his love of the outdoors to the extent that it most often crept indoors. A man whose short relationship with MacFarlane brought tears to my eyes as they explored the world together.

I have added Wildwood to the teetering pile of books on my bedside table.

So, to fill up some space not being used to extoll the virtues of his prose or the wonderful subject thereof, I thought I’d mention the fact that I have a signed and numbered proof copy from 2007 when agents were working hard to flog the living shit out of it across the country. I am very (VERY) pleased I still have it.

[Smug grin]

Lastly, some very pertinent quotes from the pen of MacFarlane I thought I would leave here as a testament to the virtues I will definitely not be extolling herewith and henceforth.

All travelers to wild places will have felt some version of this, a brief blazing perception of the world's disinterest. In small measures it exhilarates. But in full form it annihilates.
The deepwood is vanished in these islands -- much, indeed, had vanished before history began -- but we are still haunted by the idea of it. The deepwood flourishes in our architecture, art and above all in our literature. Unnumbered quests and voyages have taken place through and over the deepwood, and fairy tales and dream-plays have been staged in its glades and copses. Woods have been a place of inbetweenness, somewhere one might slip from one world to another, or one time to a former: in Kipling's story 'Puck of Pook's Hill,' it is by right of 'Oak and Ash and Thorn' that the children are granted their ability to voyage back into English history.