Paths and storylines

Hiking storytelling trails and lines

Note on storylines, songlines and trails. By Frits Ahlefeldt,

There is a strange connection between storytelling and walking, a strange connection between how we follow lines of words through the landscapes in books and in stories, and the lines of trails, that connect the places of meaning out in the landscapes

The aboriginals ( Australia ) Should still have one of the most advanced human understandings of this connection, an very ancient understanding that maybe is more like a poetic, 4D dimension, that has been largely erased elsewhere in modern times. The aboriginal stories, their movement through them, and along their trails and the recreation of their landscapes are apparently one, or somehow connected and need to be reconnected constantly in this dimension, through song, dances and poetry, that only few, if any outsiders understand.

The English writer Bruce Chatwin did his best, he traveled for years all over the world, and researched nomadic cultures and their ancient narrated trail-storylines and traditions, in a research project he called “The Songlines” , and he scribbled it all down as a moleskine wrapped matrix of notes on walking,  ley-lines, nomads, their trails and their storymaps of understanding, written into the trails and places as landscapes of poetry.

In 1987 Chatwin published his legendary book about walking and these lines, it’s called The Songlines.

This quote about how the Aboriginal Ancestors made these story-trail-lines should be from it ( I lost my own worn out copy of Chatwin’s Songlines book, somewhere long ago ) so I’m not 100% sure, but here it is :

“He went on to explain how each totemic ancestor, while traveling around the country, was thought to have scattered a trail of words and musical notes along the lines of his footprints, and how these Dreaming-tracks lay over the land as ‘ways’ of communication between the most far-flung tribes.”  

Bruce Chatwin – The Songlines

Note to self: I need to find out much, much more about this, and get a new copy of the book…

What trail – I am on a storyline cartoon
Man saying what trail, I'm on a storyline
Trails and storylines ink version

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