Richard Long in Woodland Hills?

I was walking past our neighbor’s alfalfa field yesterday and saw this:

Richard Long has been visiting our town! That was my immediate conclusion. He makes or witnesses lines in natural settings, like this one from his book “Mountains and Waters”:

These are his works as well:

It has to be him! I thought. Or, more likely, he has taught my eye to see lines like these as beautiful and meaningful. Framed by the line of clouds and the mountain range, the deer trail through this field is a remarkable sight and should be remarked on.

Near the end of my walk, I found this trail and these accompanying individual prints left by wild turkeys:

Following the trail I was surprised to find no human prints, just the deep trail worn by dozens of turkeys over some time. Trails make walking easier and they meander for inexplicable natural reasons. Why, for instance, isn’t the trail in the alfalfa field straighter? Those deer were clearly flaneurs.

About Scott Abbott

I received my Ph.D. in German Literature from Princeton University in 1979. Then I taught at Vanderbilt University, BYU, and Utah Valley State College. At Utah Valley University, I directed the Program in Integrated Studies for its initial 13 years and was also Chair of the Department of Humanities and Philosophy for three years. My publications include a book on Freemasonry and the German Novel, two co-authored books with Zarko Radakovic (REPETITIONS and VAMPIRES & A REASONABLE DICTIONARY, published in Serbo-Croatian in Belgrade and in English with Punctum Books), a book with Sam Rushforth (WILD RIDES AND WILDFLOWERS, Torrey House Press), a "fraternal meditation" called IMMORTAL FOR QUITE SOME TIME (University of Utah Press), and translations of three books by Austrian author Peter Handke, of an exhibition catalogue called "The German Army and Genocide," and, with Dan Fairbanks, of Gregor Mendel's important paper on hybridity in peas. More famously, my children are in the process of creating good lives for themselves: as a model and dance/yoga studio manager, as a teacher of Chinese language, as an ecologist and science writer, as a jazz musician, as a parole officer, as a contractor, as a seasonal worker (Alaska and Park City, Utah), and as parents. I share my life with UVU historian Lyn Bennett, with whom I have written a cultural history of barbed wire -- THE PERFECT FENCE (Texas A&M University Press). Some publications at
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4 Responses to Richard Long in Woodland Hills?

  1. Charles Hamaker says:

    “While Baudelaire characterized the flâneur as a “gentleman stroller of city streets”,[14] he saw the flâneur as having a key role in understanding, participating in, and portraying the city. A flâneur thus played a double role in city life and in theory, that is, while remaining a detached observer. This stance, simultaneously part of and apart from, combines sociological, anthropological, literary, and historical notions of the relationship between the individual and the greater populace” from Wikipedia


    • Scott Abbott says:

      and from The Paris Review: “The figure of the flâneur—the stroller, the passionate wanderer emblematic of nineteenth-century French literary culture—has always been essentially timeless; he removes himself from the world while he stands astride its heart. When Walter Benjamin brought Baudelaire’s conception of the flâneur into the academy, he marked the idea as an essential part of our ideas of modernism and urbanism.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Charles Hamaker says:

        Your wandering among the turkey trots and deer runs transforms the flâneur from the observer of the commerce of the street to the listener of and witness to stillness of the passing herds.
        Thanks for the posting, I enjoyed it and it sent me off to Baudelaire et al.


      • Scott Abbott says:

        as you can imagine, my path to Baudelaire began with Walter Benjamin. it’s such a pleasure to learn something and feel it branching out

        Liked by 1 person

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