“... escape into fantasy, far from the frustrations and shocks of social life. Yet nature lovers see otherwise. For them, the escape into nature is an escape into the real”
- Yi-Fu Tuan (Escapism p.24)
Over the years, humans have created something called ‘Middle Landscapes’. This is the middle ground between wild nature and the bigger cities, both nature and the city are jungles, confusing and disorientating. A ‘Middle Landscape’ can often seem more real (more what life should be like) compared with the extremes of wild nature and the cities and many landscapes qualify as ‘Middle’ such as, farms, suburbia and gardens. The most important by far (economically) is farmland. Workers on a farm will work, live and die there, so ‘Escapism’ doesn’t apply to them, but outside visitors often see them as blending into the landscape. They almost become figures in someone else’s vision of what they feel that they want to escape to. This merging into nature is enhanced by another common perception that the quality of their location and way of life is, ’timeless’.
A landscape is, above all a composition and to outsiders, it reveals harmonies, large and small. The people who live in the landscape don’t necessarily see these as they often attend to its immediate needs. A landscape also demonstrates the advantage of distance, a close distance can show an overall structure, but from a distance, harmonies of life and environment are obvious. There is another side that many people don’t see, often the isolation of living in a landscape; it is mainly tourists who don’t see this as they merely seek to stare at famous and awe-inspiring landscapes. They look but they don’t see.
“’Landscape’ has a curious significance for human beings. The word itself is heart-warming, like ‘home’, but with a cooler tone”
- Yi-Fu Tuan (Escapism p.173)
Notes from: Escapism, Yi-Fu Tuan