Book Notes: The Old Ways, by Robert Macfarlane, 2012

These are very brief notes from a beautifully written book. The book feels like poetry, and I makes me long for walking familiar and new paths, to be fully present on the wandering and wondering in life, and in life outside. I hope for a day when I can know the world over days and weeks of walking paths, sleeping under the sky, and waking “powdered in pollen” (page 255).

Robert Macfarlane. The Old Ways: a Journey on Foot. New York: Penguin Books, 2012.

Page 16: “Scandinavian customary right of Allemansrätten (‘Everyman’s right’). This convention – born of a region that did not pass through centuries of feudalism, and therefore has no inherited deference to a landowning class – allows a citizen to walk anywhere on uncultivated land provided that he or she cause no harm; to light fires; to sleep anywhere beyond the curtilage of a dwelling; to gather flowers, nuts and berries; and to swim in any watercourse (rights to which the newly enlightened access laws of Scotland increasingly approximate.”

111: “She did not relish her discoveries so much as her ignorance.”

341: “’We and the storm were one’ [quoting Edward Thomas] – and that we would be better, perhaps, speaking not of states of mind, but rather of atmospheres of mind or meteorologies of mind.”