Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Macfarlane and "The Old Ways"
One last quote from Robert Macfarlane from his interview on "The Old Ways":
All footpaths are “old ways” in that they’ve taken time to come into being, and have been formed by the passage of many feet. They’re communal landmarks in that sense. It’s tough, tending to impossible, to make a path on your own, save by walking it hundreds of times (as the land artist Richard Long has done). I chose to use the old ways partly because I was fascinated by this network of paths that joined with one another and covered much of the globe (a very different kind of worldwide web), and partly because they seemed to promise a way of walking deeply into, rather than just shallowly across, the landscape. That promise came good.
In Cook Park, near my mom's house in Tigard, OR, there are a mix of tarmac paved trails and trails of mulch/bark dust. I must say that the difference is fascinating: on the tarmac, you kind of feel your joints and that you are walking in a modern day way, while on the trail of wood debris under the large Douglas Firs, there is a sense of nature surrounding you.
Where you walk, the context, matters.
I've also noted the same thing about paths criss-crossing England. I am aware, especially in the northern parts up towards Scotland, that I am walking on paths that have been walked upon for ages. Meanwhile, in the States, because of its vastness, there is still a thrill that I may have walked upon a place that is "virgin" territory.