Monday, January 13, 2014

Joseph Wood Krutch: a prophecy?

"An obviously unfriendly reporter revealed not long ago that President Eisenhower had ordered removed from the White House lawn the squirrels which were interfering with his putting green, and even so trivial an incident is a straw in the wind.   To hold golf courses obviously more important than squirrels indicates a tiny but significant decision.  It points toward a coming world where there will be more golf courses and fewer wild plants as well as wild animals--hence to a world less interesting and less rich for those who would rather hunt a flower or watch the scamperings of a squirrel than chivy a rubber ball over a close-cropped grass plot.

The late David Fairchild who was responsible for the introduction of so many useful and beautiful plants into the United States, tells the story of an army officer assigned to an office building in Miami during the First World War.

'I haven't got anyting but human beings around me in that building where I spend my days.  Aside from the floor and the ceiling, the doors and windows and desk and some chairs there isn't anything but people.

The other evening when I was feeling particularly fed up with the monotony of the place, I went into the laboratory and as I was washing my hands a cockroach ran up the wall. "Thank God for a cockroach!" I said to myself.  "I'm glad there something alive besides human beings in this building."'

It may well be with such small consolations that the nature-lover of the not too distant future will be compelled to content himself.  Cockroaches will not easily be exterminated."

-- Joseph Wood Krutch --
from Baja California and the Geography of Hope

I'm not sure why Krutch referred to the reporter as "obviously unfriendly."   I wouldn't be surprised to discover to learn that most Americans would agree with President Eisenhower's decision.  After all, to put squirrels above golf courses, to consider that other creatures' survival needs might be as important as, if not more important than, human pleasures is ridiculous, isn't it?

Just how significant  is the organic world (of which we are apart, which so many conveniently forget or ignore) in our new electronic, digital world?  


  1. I find being around alot of people for a long time very tiring. (I'm an introvert.) Escaping into a bit of nature for a short time - even if it's just going into the parking lot to watch birds in the trees - really helps me to de-stress. So this post really speaks to me. I was just at Disney World, and I had to escape to the Tom Sawyer Island part of the park to de-stress. It's old fashioned and full of wooded trails, with rocking chairs under a covered veranda. Heaven!

  2. Cheryl,

    Same here. Just a short visit out to the desert does wonders for my attitude.