Robert Macfarlane suggests his own list of nameless places, more resonant and luminous to him than a range of mountains.
“There would be the ‘Dumble’, the steep-sided ditch way in Nottinghamshire, in which I played with my brother when we were young. There would be the little birch grove near Langdale in Cumbria, whose trees I had climbed and swung between. There would be the narrow strip of broadleaf woodland at the base of the Okement valley in Devon, where I saw a blue-backed falcon slip from an oak and glide off out of sight – a merlin! Such a good guardian for such a magical place.”
It made me think about what would be in my list. I could say nights on the Venice lagoon or views from the Monsal Dale viaduct near Bakewell, but it just wouldn’t be true. Most potent for me would be:
– Sandy Market Square’s bus stop, looking out over the rooftops to the sand hills
– A flight of crumbling old steps near Hitchin town centre
– The promenade at Bognor Regis and its streetlights
– The woods above Woburn Sands, looking down over the town
What a gift it is that such humdrum places can become supercharged with poetic meaning.