Mountains, hills, rises, mounds, flat plains, valleys, rifts, the earth speaks in so many languages.Sometimes, as the Scots writer Kathleen Jamie relates in her evocative book, Findings, it’s good to go to places – for her the cliffs – because ‘language fails her there’. It’s recuperative, she continues, to be thrown back on to a few elementary nouns- birds, sea, sky. (p164).
How is is that one place is healing, another, not, or both at once?
In Hoi An in Vietnam I was quite ill, even at one time, delirious. Yet I was in the perfect place; the view from the hotel room, the river, houses, the mountains across the way with their dragon’s breath, friends with herbal remedies, my wife with her natural wisdom.