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On Nature and Words

Of course there are experiences of landscape that will always resist articulation, and of which words offer only a remote echo—or to which silence is by far the best response. Nature does not name itself. Granite does not self-identify as igneous. Light has no grammar. Language is always late for its subject. Sometimes on the top of a mountain I just say, “Wow.”

Robert Macfarlane lives in Cambridge and is author of The Wild Places and The Old Ways. The text that appears here is adapted from his book Landmarks, forthcoming from Trafalgar in June.

I found this today, in an essay by Sean Michael Morris. It’s worth the long read but the piece that really resonates for me is this:

The Worn Wear truck arrived at the University of Oregon today and it was fun to be there and watch them look over the used gear that people brought, providing repair services and offering suggestions. The brand was irrelevant and you could have one item repaired for free – a great deal. They are here for a sustainability conference being put on by the business college and from what I could tell their work today will be a hit. I had a new velcro set up installed on the sleeve of my rain jacket that I keep in my office. h/t to Patagonia for doing this. You can follow the Worn Wear Wagon as it makes its way around the country. If they stop nearby, take advantage! As the sticker says, “If it’s broke, fix it!”

 

These images are from the collection of Edward Curtis photos from his original 20 volume set. Some of these are over one hundred years old, too. I read a great book about Edward Curtis and his work as a photographer a couple of years ago by Timothy Egan called, Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward CurtisThis review on Crosscut.com covers it nicely and I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s an easy read too, but one that will keep you reading from the  moment you begin.

The University of Oregon came by this set via his mistress who offered a trade – the set she owned (which was Curtis’s and she got after he died) for the one that the university had purchased at an earlier time. These images are only taken out a few times a year so it was truly a special treat for me to get a chance to see them.