At night, new orders of connection assert themselves: sonic, olfactory, tactile. The sensorium is transformed. Associations swarm out of the darkness. You become even more aware of landscape as a medley of effects, a mingling of geology, memory, movement, and life. The landforms remain, but they exist as presences: inferred, less substantial, more powerful. You inhabit a new topology. Out at night, you understand that wildness is not only a permanent property of land–it is also a quality which can settle on a place with a snowfall, or with the close of days (193).
We treat desire as a problem to be solved, address what desire is for and focus that something and how to acquire it rather than on the nature and sensation of desire, though it is often the distance between us and the object of desire that fills the space in between with the blue of longing. I wonder sometimes whether with a slight adjustment of perspective it could be cherished as a sensation on its own terms, since it is as inherent to the human condition as blue is to distance (30)?
It seemed to me that these nameless places might in fact be more important than the grander wild lands that for so many years had gripped my imagination. Taken together, the little places would make a map that could never be drawn by anyone, but which nevertheless existed in the experience of countless people. I began to make a list in my head of what would be my own map of private or small-scale wild places (237).
Lightly though she took it at first, calling it a lark, a jeu d’espirit, it soon turned into what all book writing always turns into: work, work, work. And soon enough she is bemoaning: how endless the writing and the rewriting, how tedious the research, how dull and slow the whole business and how she longs only to be quit of it– (29).