21 November 2010

Thanksgiving thoughts: "in Wildness is the preservation of the World"

Bald eagle, Sturgis

"If I wished to see a mountain or other scenery under the most favorable auspices, I would go to it in foul weather, so as to be there when it cleared up; we are then in the most suitable mood, and nature is most fresh and inspiring."

Today I am celebrating the wildlife sharing this complex part of the world. The photographs come from a year or more of exploring the Black Hills and Badlands; I'm letting Henry David Thoreau take over the writing. He says it all so much better. I would not want to live in a world without wildness. Thankfully, there is still something of the wild up here.

Avocets wheeling

"The West of which I speak is but another name for the Wild, and what I have been preparing to say is, that in Wildness is the preservation of the World. Every tree sends its fibers forth in search of the Wild."

Cedar waxwing, Canyon Lake

"I do not know of any poetry to quote which adequately expresses this yearning for the Wild. Approached from this side the best poetry is tame. I do not know where to find in any literature, ancient or modern, any account which contents me, of that Nature with which even I am acquainted."

Floating grebe nest with eggs

"Life consists with Wildness. The most alive is the wildest."

Butterfly, Iron Creek

"Nature has from the first expanded the minute blossoms of the forest only toward the heavens, above men’s heads and unobserved by them. We see only the flowers that are under our feet in the meadows."

Tundra swan

"The merit of this bird’s strain is in its freedom from all plaintiveness. The singer can easily move us to tears or to laughter, but where is he who can excite in us a pure morning joy?"

Le Conte's sparrow, Spirit Mound

"We walked in so pure and bright a light, gilding the withered grass and leaves, so softly and serenely bright — I thought I had never bathed in such a golden flood, without a ripple or a murmur to it."

Chipmunk, Needles Highway

"I believe that there is a subtile magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright. It is not indifferent to us which way we walk."

Bison, Custer

"To preserve wild animals, implies generally the creation of a forest for them to dwell in or resort to."

Pronghorn, Custer

"Nature is a personality so vast and universal that we have never seen one of her features."

Distant coyote, Custer

"In short, all good things are wild and free."

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