Landscapes in Literature (XI)

Surrealism in the Julian March.

“We climb higher. The reflected light off the sea still silvers the sky to our south. There are cheerily coloured beehives, ranged in rows in fields set back from the road. Wild-flower meadows, small vineyards.

We cross a wide pass between high peaks. Beech and pine have thickened in the lower ground, and I can smell resin in the cooler air. A sense of mountain communities and forest wilderness grows. The extent of the woods here makes a nonsense of human frontier lines. Beeches march over borders.

Dapple of shade. Pools of light. A glade, a meadow, a hut. Caves everywhere visible in the cliffs, hidden in the forests. Dips between trees where sinkholes have collapsed, filled, regrown. Big slides of light tilt down hillsides. The upper ridge of one mountain is holed by a window-like gap running right through it, the ancient relic of a long-vanished river. Through the window I can see blue sky and clouds, framed by stone: a surrealist’s canvas.”


From Underland: A Deep Time Journey (2019) by Robert Macfarlane.


Published by

Philip Lee

Writer and musician who tries to join up the dots.

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