Wednesday, 13 October 2010


The landscape is all around us. Whether we are in the country or the city it is always with us.

How often do we think of it? How often do we even notice it?

Whether we are aware of it or not, we are part of the landscape, and it is part of us. We have left our marks on each other. We carry the scars of innumerable encounters with each other.

It is not that long since the landscape of Britain was swept clean by ice. Since then, for better or worse, we have reshaped it to suit ourselves, and now it carries a record of our beliefs, our hopes, our fears.

Many of the stories that we tell to each other, that we have told to each other for countless generations, are rooted in the landscape. Where did they come from? Are they product of our imagination alone, or did the landscape itself play a part in their creation?

Of course, it is fanciful to suggest that the landscape is aware of us. In our dreams it may be one aspect of the gods that the ancients knew before consciousness altered the world for ever, but reason tells us that, beneath its thin, living skin, it is lifeless, although far from inert.

Yet the landscape is a text in itself, and, if we can learn to read the messages which have been written in wood and earth and sand and stone, we can learn something of its story.

Is this suggestion of a collaboration between the storyteller and the landscape, between the living and the not-living yet not-dead anything more than the product of an overactive imagination?

What does the landscape mean to you?

What stories has it told you?

By Unfoldling, Keith Ramsey.