Geoff Dyer; words and things

Cycling home they stopped by an oak tree. Luke lacked a vocabulary of landscape. He didn’t know the names of trees or birds, could identify only the most rudimentary crops: wheat, rape, vines. As a result he saw the landscape only in the vaguest terms: trees, fields and colours. Yellow, shades of green, slopes and gradients, the shadow-drift of clouds. Even as he noticed the landscape he was, simultaneously, oblivious to it. He looked but could not listen. It appealed only to his eye. There was nothing for him to learn from it, it had nothing to tell. (Geoff Dyer, Paris Trance, 1998)

I’m like Luke in this story. At the weekend I went walking in Hampshire with friends, thanks to whom I saw buzzards, herons, red kite, frogs, which I wouldn’t have seen otherwise; I learned the difference between rooks (with a whitish patch at the base of the beak) and crows; though I missed the first butterfly of the year. I noticed the solar panels, of course – but had to have the deer pointed out.

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Published by

Paul Hodson

Head of Unit "EnergyEfficiency" at European Commission, Directorate-General for Energy

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