The Musings of a Boho Girl

bōˈhēmēən (noun) 1. a free spirit ; 2. a writer; 3. an explorer of the Avant-Garde.

Tag: Landmarks

Favourite Quotes from Robert Macfarlane’s Landmarks

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Language and landscape have been inextricably linked for centuries, can you imagine Wuthering Heights without Bronte describing the Yorkshire moors? The setting captures the emotions of Bronte’s characters. While I was reading Robert Macfarlane’s Landmarks, I took notes and wrote down my favourite quotes. Landmarks is filled with fascinating portraits of authors that influenced Macfarlane’s writing. His high praise for Nan Shepherd led me to The Living Mountain. This book is about language…words lost or words on the brink of extinction. The glossary at the end of each chapter reminds us how important vocabulary is to Macfarlane. So I thought instead of a traditional review, I would share Macfarlane’s most striking quotes.

On Roger Deakin’s relationship with water: ’Water was to him a visionary substance. It was homoeopathic, it was cheering, it was beautiful in its flex and flow – and it was lensatic. Prepositions matter again here: we might say that Roger Deakin thought not just about water, he thought in water or with water.’

On Nan Shepherd: ’Shepherd is fierce see-er, then, and like many fierce see-ers, she is also a part-time mystic, for whom intense empiricism is the first step to immanence.’

On Peter Davidson’s poetry and northern landscape: ‘I think of Davidson’s what-ifs as versions of the duct: strange spaces in which time’s claim are stilled – and through which one might see so far into the future that it becomes the past.’
On reading John Muir: ’Reading Muir, I feel invulnerable. He gives me seven-league boots, lets me climb high mountains in a single paragraph. Rockfall, blizzard and avalanche cannot harm him.’
On Richard Jefferies: ‘Sunlight was the substance Jefferies associated most with life; dust the substance that most often triggered his dismayed materialism and his thoughts of death.’

‘Like the ‘white granular powder’ that gathers lethally upon a thriving landscape in the opening pages of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962), Jefferies’ dust contaminates both body and soul…’

You can find the book here.

April: My Five Obsessions

Spring is upon us. In college, it meant one final break before exams. My springtime rituals haven’t changed much, trips to the ballet and finding a good book to read at the park. American Ballet Theatre’s Spring Season at the Met holds special memories, I saw David Hallberg perform for the first time and it was breathtaking. Seeing him dance became a tradition, but there are plenty of other traditions to continue while Mr. Hallberg heals from surgery.

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1. Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane. I’m midway through this remarkable book. The glossary filled with landscape terms in Old English, Gaelic, and Welsh is astounding. Macfarlane explores Nan Shepherd’s The Living Mountain, what influenced her, and how living in the Cairngorms shaped her writing. Macfarlane describes his own experience in the Cairngorms with such beauty it leaves the reader in awe. You can find a copy here.

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