30 December 2012

Walking North

"That long, long path over the moors and into the forest, who has trodden it? Man, a human being, the first one who came here. There was no path before him. Later a few animals followed the faint tracks over the heaths and moors and made them clearer, and still later a few Lapps began to nose out the path and to use it when they were going from one mountain to another to see to their reindeer. This is how the path through the great common, the no-man’s-land owned by no one, came into being.

A man comes walking north. He carries a sack, the first sack, containing provisions for the road and some implements. The man is strong and rough-hewn, with a red iron beard and little scars on face and hands, sites of old wounds—were they gotten at work or in a fight? Maybe he has been in jail and wants to go into hiding, or perhaps he is a philosopher looking for peace; in any case, here he comes, a human being in the midst of this immense solitude."

Knut Hamsun, Growth of the Soil (1917)

4 comments:

Ryu said...

I did some of that recently. I had a sacrifical goat go in front of me though, so I wouldn't fall into a frozen river.

I made a partial list. It should be at the bottom of the thread.

Anonymous said...

That was when "land owned by no one" still existed. -YWP

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

Ryu ~ Sacrificial goat? I might have to try that. These days I use a beardless Christian slave walking ten paces ahead of me secured by a chain, to check for mountain lions and rattlesnakes.

Tabitha said...

LBF - your comments are hilarious!
Happy New Year, my twisted one.