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.
This book is a must read for anyone who considers such things as end-of-life care, elder-care, and helping or working with people at that stage in life. We have prolonged life and yet we still struggle with how to discuss death openly and clearly. Even moreso we struggle with how to help elderly people make decisions that honor their autonomy and that honor their sense of what gives their life meaning at that point in life. Meaning and autonomy are the two takeaways that we must honor for people as they age. This is a great read.
This speech by President Obama was one of the best pieces of speaking I have heard. In it he captures the complexity of our social situation: on race, on law enforcement & on collective grief. If you haven’t watched it, I encourage you to do so:
This was started by Peter Mulvey, one of my favorite singer-songwriters. I’ve collected the contributions into a YouTube Playlist, which is below. Perhaps I will contribute a verse at some point. Enjoy.