Eerie Nature and the Druid

Reading this amazing Robert McFarlane article recently has left me pondering a lot of things. Do go and read it – it’s a beautiful, inspiring piece about representations of landscape. Eerie landscape, specifically.

It made me realise that as a Druid author, I talk a fair bit about connecting with nature, and yet as a fiction author, I am much more drawn to writing nature as a hostile, creepy, dangerous place. www.hopelessmaine.com would be a case in point. Is that contradictory?

Looking at the narrative landscapes McFarlane references, I realise these are places I am deeply attracted to. Mythago Wood could cheerfully join the list, too. I think this is because I want nature to be a scary place. I want it to be dangerous, unpredictable, wild, and full of things that might kill you. The sanitised, safe ‘nature’ that is just pretty to look at and poses no threat at all has, in the absence of its teeth and claws, far less scope to inspire awe. Creepy and malevolent landscapes put people back in their place, and take away the illusion of control that has made us so damaging to every living thing.

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About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

2 responses to “Eerie Nature and the Druid

  • angharadlois

    I really like your observation that “creepy and malevolent landscapes put people back in their place” – I sometimes have a hard time reading Robert Macfarlane’s work in that way, due partly, I suspect, to the massive Cambridge-shaped chip on my shoulder… Coming from the country, surrounded by elite metropolitan types, it was hard not to feel that many writers saw the countryside as “uncanny” precisely because, in it, they were no longer at the centre of the frame, surrounded by things which echoed their human values. The phrase “what is discovered is almost always a version of the capital” in this article reminded me uncomfortably of that attitude – the idea that the countryside is only interesting if it is acting as a metaphor for the metropolis. But your thoughts on the article made me wonder whether the article might be saying these same things, from a different perspective, and all my baggage is getting in the way of understanding that… worth a re-read 🙂

  • Christopher Blackwell

    Nature remains the same, we just change our view of her. When we lived with her, we knew she could kill us, we had to play by her rules to survive. As we began to control our food supply, we still knew she had power but sometimes like to think we had some control of her. when we lived in the cities we mistakenly thought we had gained control. Nature remained the same. Look towards the drought in California ad see how wrong we were to thick that we were in control. Tens of millions of people are soon going to know the price of their false pride.

    I feed probably a hundred wild birds and an equal number of desert rodents. I am a nice person. But a increase in food for the increases their population and then the predators come to hunt as is their right. So more predators are alive because of my actions. We are taking snakes, road runners, coyotes, bobcats and mountain lions. Every so often after a rain I see the track of the mountain lion, I am for of the big cats, but I must make sure my cat is indoors at night. If the mountain lion sees him, it will be only as tasty food. There is nothing personal about it.

    As I move from my home and shop to my sanctuary at night using my walker and my flash light, I must remember that as a human being, I might not always be at the top of the food chain, not at least with this mountain lion. Yet just the sea I do not carry any of my several guns with me. Now with good hunting conditions on my land he is probably not of any danger to me. Of course, I could be wrong. If I a wrong, remember he is only doing what he was built to do. It is nothing personal.

    Just like when my house cat brings a live mouse into the home so that the mouse cannot escape, my cat can hunt him at night in the comfort of indoors with no larger competitor to take away his mouse. Again, there is nothing personal.

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