‘All of us, I believe, carry about in our heads, places and landscapes we shall never forget because we have experienced such intensity of life there: places where, like the child that ‘feels its life in every limb’ in Wordsworth’s poem ‘We are Seven’, our eyes have opened wider, and all our senses have somehow heightened. By way of returning the compliment, we accord these places that have given us such joy a special place in our memories and imaginations. They live on in us, wherever we may be, however far away from them.’
Robert MacFarlane, The Old Ways, p.242
First experience is protected by a sense of enormous power; it wields magic.
The distinction between first and repeated experience is that one represents all: but two, three, four, five, six, seven ad infinitude cannot. First experiences are discoveries of original meaning which the language of later experience lacks the power to express.
From ‘G’ by John Berger, p.111 (Bloomsbury, 2012).
Cats cultivate the body and the mind,
Attracted both to silence and the dark;
(The nether world could have put them to work
As couriers, had they been so inclined.)
Bemused, their attitudes evoke the style
Of sphinxes lost in thought beside the Nile,
Absorbed into a dream that never ends.
Sparks coruscate all down their fertile thighs
And golden particles, like desert sands,
Scintillate in transcendental eyes…
Extract from ‘Cats’ by Charles Baudelaire, published in ‘Charles Baudelaire: The Complete Works’, translated by Walter Martin, p.133
Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.
William Morris, Designer and Illustrator