Yet the trees grow. – Aldo Leopold
"Yet the Trees Grow" is the title of an unpublished essay by Aldo Leopold. "Empires spread over the continents, destroying soils, the floras and faunas, and each other," writes the grandfather of land stewardship, "Yet the trees grow. . . . Philosophies spread over the empires teaching the good life with tank and bomb. . . . Goods are plowed under or burned. . . . Yet the trees grow." I came upon excerpts from this expression of Leopold's lifelong habit of fixing his gaze upon the workings of the wild word, even when confronting the unravelings of the human, in a book called Aldo Leopold's Odyssey (Island Press, 2006). Julianne Lutz Newton's thoroughly contemporary intellectual biography of Leopold describes the journey that gave us the indispensable A Sand County Almanac (Oxford University Press, 1949 and 1968). Newton calls "Yet the Trees Grow" a record of "the somber side of his imagination." Indeed. Careful readers will discern the subtext of Leopold's most famous book. The underlying somberness there makes all the more poignant his call to focus upon, to value, and to work for the well-being of the wild places and things where the fierce green fire burns. I highly recommend both books.
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