Friday Nature Reflections From Pat Byington, Editor of The Green Register

100_1985_Pat Byington Photo_optOver the years I have collected many excerpts from books and poems about nature and the world we live in. As a special treat to The Green Register readers today, below are some of my favorite passages ranging from President Theodore Roosevelt to Wendell Berry.

I hope these passages about nature and conservation can inspire and move you this Friday, January 25, 2013.

Best wishes, Pat Byington

Quotes, Poems and Book Passages 

“Conservation means development as much as it does protection. I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use the natural resources of our land; but I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob, by wasteful use, the generations that come after us.”

- Theodore Roosevelt, Osawatomie, Kansas, August 31, 1910


“…In fifth grade my 4-H project was carnivorous plants. The only information I could find was a short entry in the outdated set of Encyclopedia Americana we owned. On a poster I sketched the innards of a pitcher plant, showing how its upright, trumpet-shaped leaves are lined with downward pointing hairs, how it lures insects through its lips with a sweet smelling nectar. The insects can descend but never climb out again. I sliced open one of the Sarracenia stems to show the judges at the regional competition in Jesup that it was full of a ripe stew of insect parts – ant bodies, fly legs, beetle wings – but they weren’t impressed.

The pitcher plant taught me to love rain, welcoming days of drizzle and sudden thundering downpours, drops trailing down its hoods and leaves, soaking the ground. In my fascination with pitcher plant, I learned to detest artificial bouquets of plastic and silk. Its carnivory taught me the sinlessness of predation and its columns of dead insects the glory of purpose no matter how small. In that plant I was looking for a manera de ser, a way of being – no, not for a way of being but of being able to be. I was looking for a patch of ground that supported the survival of rare, precious, and endangered biota within my own heart.”

- Janisse Ray, “Ecology of a Cracker Childhood”


“It is fair to remember that this is not a land that belongs to us. If we destroy it we destroy something in us. Its trees can teach us tenacity and patience and serenity and respect. Life’s urge to survive is the force that shaped them and their world of wildness, that made them one of the great miracles. We, if we are too impatient to care, can end this miracle, this chain of life linked to an old eternity when life first strove to leave Mother Sea. Or we, able to create ideas, can meet our old material needs with a different urge – an urge to preserve what we cannot replace. Wildness made us; we cannot make it. We can only spare it.”

- David Brower in “The Last Redwoods”


When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought

of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting with their light. For a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.


- Poem by Wendall Berry “The Peace of Wild Things”


To plant a tree is to say Yes to life:

It is to affirm our faith in the future.


To plant a tree is to acknowledge our debt to the past:

Seeds are not created out of nothing.


To plant a tree is to co-operate in Nature’s work

Whereby all forms of life are interdependent.


To plant a tree is a token of sorrow for past mistakes:

When we took life’s gifts for granted.


To plant a tree is to make a social statement

For green-consciousness, for conservation and ecology.


To plant a tree is to enhance the quality of life:

It brings beauty to the eyes and uplift to the spirit.


To plant a tree is to make a spiritual point:

We are all members of the Tree of Life, we stand or fall together.

Poem by Rev. Francis Simons, appeared in the book “God is Green – Ecology for Christians”




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