I took the little film above during a wet and windy weekend in Bognor last week. The title Winter Moon came into my head, and when I uploaded it to YouTube a suggestion came up to listen to a rather lovely track of the same name by Stan Getz. I’ve pasted the Getz track in at the end of this post so anyone inclined that way can have it play while they read the rest of this post.
I’ve come across a few interesting articles recently with landscape-related discussions and thought I’d share a few that spark ideas in my mind.
The first is a review of a book called The Old Ways, by Robert Macfarlane. Macfarlane set out to walk old routes around the UK. You can the whole review on the link below.
One quotation really stood out for me. “ ‘The two questions we should ask of any strong landscape are these,’ he tells us: ‘firstly, what do I know when I am in this place that I can know nowhere else? Secondly, what does this place know of me that I cannot know of myself?’ And this is a recurring theme in Macfarlane’s work: the idea, as he noted in his Foreword to the anthology A Wilder Vein in 2010, ‘that cognition is site-specific, or motion-sensitive: that we think differently in different landscapes. And therefore, more radically, that certain thoughts might be possible only in certain places, such that when we lose those places, we are losing kinds of imagination as well.’ “
I shall try asking myself that question about both Norbury and Bognor. If I’m feeling really strong, I’ll try answering it. Watch this space…
I found this reflection on weather by Richard Mabey in Guardian Books to be really fascinating – there’s lots of interesting stuff in there, from climate change to famous diarists and their evocations of weather. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/feb/15/richard-mabey-unpredictable-power-nature
The following passage struck me immediately – it’s at once so visual and so full of imagination.
“ The October I moved into a 16th-century timber-framed farmhouse, a mighty wind got up, and was palpable even inside the house. A strange miasma began to drift into the rooms through the beam-joints and knot-holes, an airborne flotsam of rotten wood crumbs, lime-plaster dust, wisps of horsehair and centuries'-old swift droppings, sucked up in the loft and whirled down through the cracks in the ceilings. It was an aerial fossil, evidence that weather, seemingly so much a phenomenon of the now, has currents reaching back into the past and forward into the future – and that it can blow our minds. We forget real good days and invent golden ages, blame the messengers for the bad and then expect to be punished ourselves should we ever be blessed with an inordinately perfect summer. "We'll pay for it," we gloomily predict. When it comes to weather, we're still primitive animists. “
Finally, Sean O’Hagan’s discussion of Alessando Imbriaco’s book ‘The Garden’ is really interesting. http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2013/feb/15/the-garden-alessandro-imbriaco-photographs# The subject – people living a marginal existence in nature on the edge of the city of Rome - is interesting in itself, as is Imbriaco’s move from a documentary style into something unashamedly romantic for this project. I am tempted to add the book to my ever-expanding wishlist. I do think the subject appeals to an escapist ideal in many of us: my inner child wants to live in a secluded tree house even while I know perfectly well that I am wedded to home comforts such as an insect-free bed and central heating.