Thursday, May 9, 2013

The place for a Land Ethic

photo of turkey gobbler and hen, mating display
© harrington
Welcome. Thanks for coming. Yesterday, we talked a bit about attachment to place. Today, I saw Ron Madore's column about the coyote's visit. That made me think about why I'm attached to living in the country. Many of the things I like to do, such as attend a poetry reading, take a class at The Loft Literary Center, eat at a nice restaurant or see a play occur primarily in the urban center. They also occur, more or less, depending, at a certain time and often on a certain date. Try as I might, I haven't been able to schedule turkey mating displays (see above), or turtles crossing the road, or wood ducks in the pond, at a specific time or date. If I lived in the city and traveled to the country to see wildlife, it would be the proverbial "crap shoot." I'll admit that wildflowers blooming or trees greening up and leafing out are more amenable to timing a visit. And yet, if you think about the 42 day difference between ice out last year and this (that would be 6 weeks difference), clearly even horticultural schedules are more volatile than those for plays, readings or birthday and anniversary dinners. This is a long-winded way of explaining that I live in the country because I'm among the minority Aldo Leopold  was talking about when he wrote in The Land Ethic:
"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."
As I get older, and, presumably, wiser ('though some would question that), I find that I'm more willing to include in my standard of living the necessity of places empty except when visited by wild things. How about you? Thanks for listening. Come again when you can. Rants, raves and reflections erved here daily in My Minnesota.