Passages from Nan Shepherd’s The Living Mountain

“So back one climbs, to the sources.”

“Place and mind interpenetrate till the nature of both is altered. I cannot tell what this movement is except by recounting it.”

“It is necessary to be sometimes exclusive, not on behalf of rank or wealth, but of those human qualities that can apprehend loneliness.”

“The talking tribe, I find, want sensation from the mountain – not in Keats’s sense. Beginners, not unnaturally, do the same – I did myself. They want the startling view, the horrid pinnacle – sips of beer and tea instead of milk. Yet often the mountain gives itself most completely when I have no destination, when I reach nowhere in particular, but have gone out merely to be with the mountain as one visits a friend with no intention but to be with him.”

“Yet so long as they live a life close to their wild land, subject to its weathers, something of its own nature will permeate theirs. They will be marked men.”

“Why some blocks of stone, hacked into violent and tortured shapes, should so profoundly tranquilize the mind I do not know.”

“So, simply to look on anything, such as a mountain, with the love that penetrates to its essence, is to widen the domain of being in the vastness of non-being. Man has no other reason for his existence.”

“Walking thus, hour after hour, the senses keyed, one walks the flesh transparent.”

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from J.A. Baker’s The Peregrine

“Like the seafarer, the peregrine lives in a pouring-away world of no attachment, a world of wakes and tilting, of sinking planes of land and water. We who are anchored cannot envisage this freedom of the eye. The peregrine sees and remembers patterns we do not know exist: the neat squares of orchard and woodland, the endlessly varying quadrilateral shapes of fields. He finds his way across the land by a succession of remembered symmetries.”

from David Hanson’s Wilderness to Wasteland (1985–86)

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“[I]t seems likely that the most enduring monuments that Western civilization will leave for future generations will not be Stonehenge, the Pyramids of Giza, or the cathedral of Chartres, but rather the hazardous remains of our industry and technology. Landscapes of failed desire, these sites become both arena and metaphor for the most constructive and destructive aspects of the American spirit. The photographs become, finally, meditations on a ravaged landscape.” – David Hanson

from Petros Koublis’s In Landscapes series

“A landscape is an illimitable state. It’s not restricted within the visible area in front of our eyes, but it extends in an undefined distance, reaching for the limits of our interpretation over ourselves and the world around us. It is because every landscape is eventually defined as the vast open field where our thoughts and feelings are meeting with the outside world. It’s both an imaginary field and an actual reality, a perpetual state and a momentary revelation.” – Petros Koublis

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