Monday, February 12, 2007
Community of the Land
Conservationist and writer Aldo Leopold wrote in A Sand County Almanac, "We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity that belongs to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect." I've struggled for years with how to describe the kinship I feel with other species, not so much as individuals, but as a community -- the totality of relationships and interrelationships, the bonds of who eats whom, who chases whom, who cooperates and who competes and who cannot survive without whom -- that make nature what it is, and make Earth habitable for humans. Leopold's phrase captures why it's important to me to know and respect nature and the more-than-human communities that animate the landscape. Land is the community to which we belong, not a commodity that belongs to us.
Salida Almanac: Here in the Upper Arkansas Valley, we are waiting for snow. The sun set into a cloud bank that muffled the high peaks to the west, and Venus shone clear about two fists above the western horizon as Sirius, the dog star in Canis Major, sparkled into view over the hills to the east. Today was another in a week of spring-like days that have the juncos trilling and the dippers on the river warbling courting songs, and the spinach I planted last fall in raised beds poking tiny leaves up from the rosettes that have survived the frigid weeks of winter by hugging the sun-warmed soil surface. But the Weather Service says we're due for a return of winter tomorrow. It's been a long one already, but I wouldn't mind more snow. In arid country like this, we're always poised on the edge of another drought and greedy for precipitation, just in case. So I'll keep hoping for snow!