Natural Thinking / 03
While nature gallops headlong into spring, the birdsong intensified by quiet streets and roads, so many of us are desperately yearning for more time outdoors. Whether you’re gazing from open windows or lucky in the garden, our new read, watch and listen playlist is for daydreaming and hatching future escapes – inspired by lives lived on the threshold of indoors and out.
Contemplating wild escapes to mountain bothies? Or just feeling the sun on your front step… We’ve gathered some of our favourite words, music and musings on what it means to find a space, and to let nature in.
Walden by Henry David Thoreau
The foundational text for any aspiring cabin inhabitants, Thoreau’s Walden charts two years living simply, at the edge of Walden pond. His observations on the natural world are interwoven with a stirring manifesto for a contemplative and self-sufficient life.
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms...”
Portrait of a Place: Away With the Land
“They always say the grass is greener on the other side but I think the side I’m on is as green as you can get” – take in the view from the furthest reaches of Scotland, in Joya Berrow’s five-minute film, beautifully documenting a crofter’s way of life.
The Salt Path by Raynor Winn
When Raynor Winn and her husband Moth lost their home, sense of normality, and the future they’d imagined – they began to walk. The Salt Path tells the story of their 630-mile journey around the South West Coast-path with a tent, raising questions of what it means to have a home at all.
“Were we searching this narrow margin between the land and sea for another way of being, becoming edgelanders along the way? Stuck between one world and the next. Walking a thin line between tame and wild, lost and found, life and death. At the edge of existence.”
“It was always about, and still is, being a part of nature” – Indulge in three minutes of extreme treehouse envy, as architect Jim Olson narrates his way around his home, a treetop dwelling amongst the woods at Washington State.
John O’Donohue: The Inner Landscape of Beauty
A remarkable interview with the late Irish philosopher and poet John O’Donohue, on our inner and outer landscapes and the thresholds in between.
“I think it makes a huge difference, when you wake in the morning and come out of your house, whether you believe you are walking into dead geographical location, which is used to get to a destination, or whether you are emerging out into a landscape that is just as much, if not more, alive as you, but in a totally different form.”
'Man in a Shed' by Nick Drake
Sweet and mournful, Nick Drake’s Man in a Shed evokes a simpler life, in a guitar-picked ballad of girl meets shed-dweller.
“Please don't think
I'm not your sort
You'll find that sheds are nicer than you thought.”
'Isolation Waltz' by Stelios Kerasidis
And finally, one for our troubled times. A seven-year-old Greek prodigy (who first performed in public aged three) has written this beautiful piano piece inspired by the pandemic, dedicated to people who “suffer and isolate”. “Let’s just be a teeny bit more patient,” he tells us, “and we will soon be out swimming in the sea”. Turn up the speakers, close your eyes and skim across a silver sea…