Sand County Saturdays

See how the squirrel is all hunched in one position and eyeing me cautiously?  That's how I've felt for the last three days.  Except I've been on a couch or in the bed, and the thing I've been eyeing so warily is the pain that seems to be out to get me.  I'm pretty sure all I've got is some sort of infection caused by the MASSIVE amount of drainage that has set up camp in my throat, and I do feel much better today - thankyouverymuch -  so perhaps it will head out by tomorrow.  I'm playing it safe and resting a great deal and managing to get a lot of reading done as well.  Most of it has been of the magazines that have been sitting around for 2 weeks variety, but I have also spent some time with Mr. Leopold in Sand County and am happy to report he still has things to say that thrill my soul.  I made it to December just after filling my bird feeders, so as he explained about the habits of the chickadee, I was listening to the insistent chirp of the first cardinal who had discovered my action.  I never can tell for sure if he is announcing it to loved ones or crowing proudly at being the one to find it first.

Here are some of the things I loved in Part One: A Sand County Almanac.

From February:
There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm.  One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.  To avoid the first danger, one should plant a garden, preferably where there is no grocer to confuse the issue.  To avoid the second, he should lay a split of good oak on the andirons, preferably where there is no furnace, and let it warm his shins while a February blizzard tosses the trees outside. (6)
The drama of the sky dance is enacted nightly on hundreds of farms, the owners of which sigh for entertainment, but harbor the illusion that it is to be sought in theaters.  They live on the land, but not by the land. (34)
The erasure of human subspecies is largely painless - to us - if we know little enough about it.  A dead Chinaman is of little import to us whose awareness of things Chinese is bounded by the occasional dish of chow mein.  We grieve only for what we know. (48)
...things hoped for have a higher value than things assured. (54)
And when a flock of bluebills, pitching pondward, tears the dark silk of heaven in one long rending nose-dive, you catch your breath at the sound, but there is nothing to see except stars. (61)
 A conservationist is one who is humbly aware that with each stroke he is writing his signature on the face of his land. (68)
This is especially likely to happen on some gloomy evening when the snow has buried all irrelevant detail, and the hush of elemental sadness lies heavy upon every living thing. (87)
I hope these snippets inspire you to pick up a copy of A Sand County Almanac.  And if your weekend allows it (and you aren't confined to the couch as I am), consider taking a walk in the woods somewhere.

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