March 4, 2017, sixty-nine years after Aldo Leopold penned his final contribution to A Sand County Almanac, a marathon reading of his work begins in a small building called The Schoolhouse in the Clearings Folk School in Door County, Wisconsin. Pine trees can be seen through every window. A few birds flitter past during the ninety minutes. Eight inches of snow dumped during a nasty storm earlier in the week glistens outside with puddles beginning to form where the day’s sun and temps clear out cold stuff one more time. Leopold, the man known as the father of wildlife ecology, would appreciate the setting for this local event celebrating Aldo Leopold Weekend.
Young and old, writers and environmentalists, students and philanthropic retirees, wait their turn to read selected pieces. Everyone willingly hands their attention and time to listening one more time to Leopold’s insights about the ways of nature as highways and manufacturing were changing America in the 1930s and 40s. No one checks cell phones or watches. Stories about fishing, about birds, about snow melt, about prairie flowers lost to road construction written near The Shack in Baraboo, Wisconsin by a wise man. Humor, detailed description, a few lessons tucked into each about caring for the land because it is ours communally.
A Sand County Almanac would be a good read for any person who thinks about the land, or to nurture awareness of our environment. It could be a nice present for Ryan Zinke or even Mr. Trump, who might prefer the audio format.