Robert Macfarlane Quotes

Enjoy the top 42 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Robert Macfarlane.

Robert Macfarlane Quotes

As the pen rises from the page between words, so the walkers 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.
— Robert Macfarlane —

Mountains seem to answer an increasing imaginative need in the West. More and more people are discovering a desire for them, and a powerful solace in them. At bottom, mountains, like all wildernesses, challenge our complacent conviction - so easy to lapse into - that the world has been made for humans by humans. Most of us exist for most of the time in worlds which are humanly arranged, themed and controlled. One forgets that there are environments which do not respond to the flick of a switch or the twist of a dial, and which have their own rhythms and orders of existence. Mountains correct this amnesia. 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.

— Robert Macfarlane

Our disenchantment of the night through artificial lighting may appear, if it is noticed at all, as a regrettable but eventually trivial side effect of contemporary life. That winter hour, though, up on the summit ridge with the stars falling plainly far above, it seemed to me that our estrangement from the dark was a great and serious loss. We are, as a species, finding it increasingly hard to imagine that we are part of something which is larger than our own capacity. We have come to accept a heresy of aloofness, a humanist belief in human difference, and we suppress wherever possible the checks and balances on us - the reminders that the world is greater than us or that we are contained within it.

— Robert Macfarlane

A walk is only a step away from a story, and every path tells.

— Robert Macfarlane

Wild animals, like wild places, are invaluable to us precisely because they are not us. They are uncompromisingly different. The paths they follow, the impulses that guide them, are of other orders. The seal's holding gaze, before it flukes to push another tunnel through the sea, the hare's run, the hawk's high gyres : such things are wild. Seeing them, you are made briefly aware of a world at work around and beside our own, a world operating in patterns and purposes that you do not share. These are creatures, you realise that live by voices inaudible to you.

— Robert Macfarlane

There was nothing unique about my beech tree, nothing difficult in its ascent, no biological revelation at its summit, nor any honey, but it had become a place to think. A roost. I was fond of it, and it
well, it had no notion of me. I had climbed it many times; at first light, dusk, and glaring noon. I had climbed it in winter, brushing snow from the branches of my hand, with the wood cold as stone to the touch, and real crows' nests black in the branches of nearby trees. I had climbed in in early summer, and looked out over the countryside with heat jellying the air and the drowsy buzz of a tractor from somewhere nearby. And I had climbed it in monsoon rain, with water falling in rods thick enough for the eye to see. Climbing the tree was a way to get perspective, however slight; to look down on a city that I usually looked across. The relief of relief. Above all, it was a way of defraying the city's claims on me.

— Robert Macfarlane

Before you become a writer you must first become a reader. Every hour spent reading is an hour spent learning to write;

— Robert Macfarlane

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.

— Robert Macfarlane

The whole foot is a document of motion, inscribed by repeated action. Babies - from those first foetal footfalls, the kneading of sole against womb-wall, turning themselves like astronauts in black space - have already creased their soles by the time they emerge into the world.

— Robert Macfarlane

We are adept, if occasionally embarrassed, at saying what we make of places - but we are far less good at saying what places make of us ...

— Robert Macfarlane

Lift is created by the onwards rush of life over the curved wing of the soul.

— Robert Macfarlane

Placeless events are inconceivable, in that everything that happens must happen somewhere, and so history issues from geography in the same way that water issues from a spring: unpredictably but site-specifically.

— Robert Macfarlane

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

— Robert Macfarlane

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.

— Robert Macfarlane

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