Those who travel to mountain-tops are half in love with themselves, and half in love with oblivion.

— Robert Macfarlane

The most massive Robert Macfarlane quotes that will transform you to a better person

By speaking of greater forces than we can possibly invoke, and by confronting us with greater spans of time than we can possibly envisage, mountains refute our excessive trust in the man-made. They pose profound questions about our durability and the importance of our schemes. They induce, I suppose, a modesty in us.

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All travelers to wild places will have felt some version of this, a brief blazing perception of the world's disinterest. In small measures it exhilarates. But in full form it annihilates.

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The compact between writing and walking is almost as old as literature -- a walk is only a step away from a story, and every path tells.

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Humans are animals and like all animals we leave tracks as we walk: signs of passage made in snow, sand, mud, grass, dew, earth or moss.... We easily forget that we are track-markers, through, because most of our journeys now occur on asphalt and concrete--and these are substances not easily impressed.

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I remembered what Thoreau had written in his journal about thinking nothing of walking eight miles to greet a tree.

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As the pen rises from the page between words, so the walker's feet rise and fall between paces, and as the deer continues to run as it bounds from the earth and the dolphin continues to swim even as it leaps again and again from the sea, so writing and wayfaring are continuous activities, a running stitch, a persistence of the same seam or stream.

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A basic language-literacy of Nature is falling from us.

And what is being lost along with this literacy is something perhaps even more valuable: a kind of language-magic, the power that certain words possess to enchant our imaginative relations with Nature and landscape.

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Woods and forests have been essentialt to the imagination of these islands, and of countries throughout the world, for centuries. It is for this reason that when woods are felled, when they are suppressed by tarmac and concrete and asphalt, it is not only unique species and habitats that disappear, but also unique memories, unique forms of thought.

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We are fallen mostly into pieces but the wild returns us to ourselves

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Knowing another is endless,' Shepherd had written; 'The thing to be known grows with the knowing.

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Touch is a reciprocal action, a gesture of exchange with the world.

To make an impression is also to receive one, and the soles of our feet, shaped by the surfaces they press upon, are landscapes themselves with their own worn channels and roving lines. They perhaps most closely resemble the patterns of ridge and swirl revealed when a tide has ebbed over flat sand

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Anyone who lives in a city will know the feeling of having been there too long.

The gorge-vision that the streets imprint on us, the sense of blockage, the longing for surfaces other than glass, brick, concrete and tarmac....I have lived in Cambridge on and off for a decade, and I imagine I will continue to do so for years to come. And for as long as I stay here, I know I will have to also get to the wild places.

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About Robert Macfarlane

Quotes 13 sayings
Profession Writer
Birthday August 15, 1976