Saturday, April 28, 2018

A Sand County visit #NationalPoetryMonth #phenology

The further South we drove, approaching Wisconsin Dells and Baraboo, the more bud burst on hill sides became visibly colorful. Remaining vestiges of Winter hid under low branches at the foot of slopes. Rivers ran bank full and more. We were headed about 150 miles south of our origin, which would place us at the leading edge of Spring's creep Northward. Where we were coming from, warm weather was still a dream on the Southern horizon although red maples had bud burst and aspens were starting to leaf out.

red maple bud burst (finally)
red maple bud burst (finally)
Photo by J. Harrington

The geese at the pond near the B & B we're staying at had already produced goslings. Nearby farmers, not yet doing fieldwork back North, were just starting work in some fields along I-94. Today we'll visit an exhibition of cranes in the morning and a famous "Sand County" farm in the afternoon. Aldo Leopold's writing has had a major influence on us, so we're looking forward to finally visiting his shack and the LEED Gold building that now houses the work of his eponymous Foundation.

Much of Leopold's writing has been classified as prose and belongs there. We, on the other hand, have come to see A Sand County Almanac as an extended prose poem. The quotations below, among others he wrote, support, we believe, our perspective.

“We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then and have known ever since that there was something new to me in those eyes, something known only to her and to the mountain. I was young then and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters’ paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view.” Thinking Like a Mountain, A Sand County Almanac.
“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.” Foreword, A Sand County Almanac. 


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