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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.

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