Robert Macfarlane has apparently written many books on walking, but I have only listened to one: The Old Ways (Blackstone Audio, available through my local library's library2go account). I loved it.
In most sections of this book, Macfarlane describes walking the "old ways" of England, although sometimes he recalls trips further afield (with a friend in Israel, for example) or even adventurous travelling by boat. Much of what he says touches on Exploration in general. Here are two of my favorite bits (with apologies to Macfarlane and his publisher if I put punctuation in the wrong places).
* * *
Part 1 of the book is called Tracking. The first chapter is called "Path."
The path he begins with is an ancient track in southern England
called the Icknield Way.
"It was the first of my foot journeys, most of which are recounted here, and they involve the traveller's usual mix of excitement, incompetence, ennui, adventure, and epiphany."
* * *
Part 2 of the book is called Following. In the chapter called "Granite," he revisits the farm of his grandfather, Edward Peck.
Macfarlane describes his ancestor with insight and respect.
"He loved landscapes, passionately, but he wasn't a landscape mystic. . . . Certainly my grandfather would have been hard-pushed to express exactly why certain landscapes meant to him what they did. Not because he was incapable of such analysis, but because to him it was all so self-evident: the beauty of high country in particular, the companionship provided by passage through certain landscapes, the fortifying power of hardship experienced at nature's hand."
* * *
Do you respond to, disagree with, or have comments on any of these perspectives?
As a reader, I like essays and novels that are informed by ideas. Annie Dillard. Michael Ondaatje. I am hoping here to join others who feel the same. I look forward to thoughtful conversations!