Eventually, we will have to recognise that it is not “nature” that we need to protect, but ourselves.
From the glorious July that I once spent deep in the Arctic Circle to the treacherous climate of central California.
"The world you quit / Is staying here, so say goodbye to it."
While the landscapes of Thoreau and Watkins have been preserved by their art, John Burnside finds the wilderness that once covered America neutralised.
In the bleak midwinter, there are few walks more energising.
The child of a grey coal town in Calvinist Scotland, I was hungry for imagery, wild about colour and, even though I accepted that I would never live there, desperate for proof of some other world.
The work of a great artist often appears so fluent, so graceful, that we assume it must have come easily – but nothing in art is worth much if it is not hard won.
The Nature Column by John Burnside.
Staring into this powerful bird’s beady eye – its extraordinary face more African mask than that of a bird – I felt connected for a moment to something old and original.
The forest was where a traveller could become lost for ever and lose his rational bearings, as in the Arthurian tale of the Forest of Beguilement, a place, as Spenser puts it, full of “wayes unknowne”.
Autumn is also the season not of perfumes, or even scents, but of one complex, yet oddly single smell.