August 18, 2022

Was just wandering

Just finished reading Robert Macfarlane’s amazing ‘Underlines’, which aside from containing mesmerising stories about his explorations, contains some amazing observations, one of which really struck out; an observation on the detachment digital living scores – “Where everything is within reach and nothing within touch.”

Admittedly my outdoor adventures have been pretty limited of late (although I did make a rather good pudding from hedgerow apples and blackberries – lazy foraging, I know), but Macfarlane’s insistence that the outdoors teaches us the most about life so best get out there is hard to resist. 

And do like the idea that ‘wander’ and ‘wonder’ almost sound the same. 

I’ve kept a relationship with being outdoors and being inspired by it since realising you can find inspiration in the smallest prospects – for a while (wow, nearly four years, just checked) I’ve kept a record of the things that catch my eye outdoors, picking up small odds and ends and creating a tiny composition from them. 

They only exist as a phone snap (maybe that makes them sort-of-nfts?) and saved them on Instagram (#thefieldwalker if you fancy a ramble through.) There’s no real point to them, other that like writing, collecting and assembling little artworks helps with celebrating the creative impulse with the most economic of means.

You don’t need to swim the Amazon or bungie off Mont Blanc to find a bit of outdoors to enjoy; even a trip to the op-shop will bring inspiration to hand. Nothing better, on that touching idiom, to have things to hand. 

Anything you can do (actively do) is a way of keeping ‘in touch’. Rather than simply passively soaking up stuff on your variously demanding threads (or wasting time listening to old bores like me), have a go at something that takes you out of doors.

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About Richard Hill

Creative director, writer, designer, illustrator based in the UK with global project experience and consulting skills across sectors.

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