Sunday, November 18, 2012

Gratitude

photo of a flock of turkeys in a meadow
© harrington
This is the Sunday of the beginning of Thanksgiving week. That's a flock of wild turkeys in the photo. When I first moved to Minnesota, sights like this were rare. I was lucky enough over several years to draw some of the first permits available to hunt the re-introduced birds. They were located mostly in the southeast bluff country. The flock above lives north of the Twin Cities. In recent years I've seen smaller flocks along University Avenue in St. Paul. One of the things I'm grateful for is that My Minnesota has been as successful as it has in returning this magnificent bird to its previous range. In "A Sand County Almanac" Aldo Leopold wrote something that pretty well captures my feelings: "There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot. These essays are the delights and dilemmas of one who cannot.

Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now we face the question whether a still higher 'standard of living' is worth its cost in things natural, wild, and free. For us of the minority, the opportunity to see geese is more important than television, and the chance to find a pasque-flower is a right as inalienable as free speech.

These wild things, I admit, had little human value until mechanization assured us of a good breakfast, and until science disclosed the drama of where they come from and how they live. The whole conflict thus boils down to question of degree. We of the minority see a law of diminishing returns in progress, our opponents do not."
During this week, and for the rest of your years, I hope you have enough thanks to give for the wild and natural elements of My Minnesota to help protect it from unwise and unnecessary development.