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This edition of The Green Register Inspirational passages and quotes comes primarily from the book SEEDS by Richard Horan – a fantastic Christmas present this year from my wife Kathy. The book is about one man’s journey to find trees that inspired American writers. Horan made several journeys to Alabama to discover trees at the homes of Harper Lee, Truman Capote, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, the Creek Indians and Helen Keller.
Additional quotes come from David Brower’s book Let the Mountain Talk, Let the Rivers Run. It was nearly twenty-one years ago in March 1992, that Brower, Sierra Club’s first director, addressed the Alabama Conservancy’s 25th Anniversary Celebration in Birmingham, an event I organized. Wonderful memories. Enjoy!
The Green Register
“He who plants a tree/Plants a hope.” ~ Lucy Larcom, in the poem ‘Plant a Tree”
“I never saw a discontented tree. They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do.” ~ John Muir
“In the slanting sun of late afternoon the shadows of great branches reached across the river, and the trees took the river in their arms.” - Norman Maclean
“The forests are disappearing, the rivers are running dry, the game is exterminated, the climate is spoiled, and the earth becomes poorer and uglier every day… When I plant a little birch tree and then see it budding into young green and swaying in the wind, my heart swells with pride… ~ Anton Chekhov, Uncle Vanya
“I wonder if anyone else has an ear so tuned and sharpened as I have, to detect the music, not of the spheres, but of earth, subtleties of major and minor chord that the wind strikes upon the tree branches. Have you ever heard the earth breathe?” ~ Kate Chopin, Mrs. Mobry’s Reason
“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Trees outstrip most people in the extent and depth of their work for the public good.” ~ Sara Ebenreck, American Forests
“A hypocrite is the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, then mount the stump and make a speech for conservation.” ~ Adlai Stevenson
“For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver.” ~Martin Luther
“If you are not a tree hugger, then you’re a what, a tree hater?” ~Douglas Coupland
From Let the Mountain Talk, Let the Rivers Run :
“The Earth belongs in use to the living… no man can by natural right oblige the lands he occupies, or the persons who succeed him in that occupation, to the payment of debts contracted by him. For if he could, he might during his own life, eat up the use of the lands for several generations to come… then the Earth would belong to the dead and not the living generation…No generation can contract debts greater than may be paid during the course of its own existence.” ~ A letter from Thomas Jefferson to James Madison
Allow me to offer you a short course in ecology, beginning with rot. Rot is an extraordinarily important process. Rot is highly exciting. But we give it a three letter word. We say, “This tree is sick,” and “This is rotten, anyway. We should get rid of it.”
By removing the rotten tree from the forest, we knock out of existence all the species that were going to use that tree for a home, for their dinner, until it rotted away completely, and helped to nourish the next tree, maybe 200 or more years down the line. This is a very good system. Unfortunately, we’ve learned how to break the circle of life instead of respecting it. ~ David Brower, Let the Mountain Talk, Let the Rivers Run
Perhaps at this moment in our time on Earth, we should all drop back about 200 years and consider again this couplet from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
Do you have magic in you? You bet. Magic is that little genetic genius that has been evolving for three billion years: It connects us all to each other and to everything that has come before and that still lives on the planet. That is some magic, and it was formed in wilderness.
Let us begin. Let us restore the Earth. Let the mountains talk, and the rivers run.
Once more, and forever. ~ David Brower, Let the Mountain Talk, Let the Rivers Run