What Good is It?

The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant: “What good is it?”

– Aldo Leopold

1887 – 1948 born in Burlington, Iowa

Aldo Leopold is considered to be the the father of wilderness management.  In Baraboo, Wisconsin where he made his home on “a worn out farm”,  March 2-4, 2012 is Aldo Leopold weekend.

On this sand farm in Wisconsin, first worn out and then abandoned by our bigger and better society, we try to rebuild, with shovel and axe, what we are losing elsewhere. It is here that we seek—and still find—our meat from God.

Foreword to A Sand County Almanac (1949), ASCA viii

Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold

All over the USA including in Ames, Cedar Rapids, and Perry Iowa, there will be people getting together to learn more about his Leopold’s legacy.

Check out the calendar to see whether there is a hike, a Green Fire film screening, a service project or a reading of his works in your area in early March.

Green Fire is a 2011 full length documentary about Aldo Leopold’s life.


Repent, Repent The END is Near – or is it?

My Great Grandmother Helga Swanson. About age 15. I called her Morta-Mor, Swedish for grandmother.

My great-grandmother Helga Anderson was an OX born in Ostergotland, Sweden in 1901.  As the world was poised at the threshold of WWI, in the spring of 1914, she and her family immigrated to Stratford, Iowa.

Without knowing a word of English and hoping to finish her education, she began school.  Within a few months she saw her family needed support.  She quit school, left her house and became a domestic for a neighboring farmer.

The blue-eyed, blond haired girl caught the attention of a local bachelor.  He wrote a postcard to my great-grandfather Axel who was working in Philadelphia.  The card said “New arrivals from Sweden.  Come home quick before they are taken.”

As the war ended, 17-year old Helga became Axel Swanson’s wife legalizing her residency in the USA.  A year later my grandmother was born.

And life continued on.

Her one regret was had she stayed in Sweden until she was fourteen she would have completed her confirmation studies in the Lutheran church.  In the end she was confirmed in the Stratford Lutheran Church.  She became a lifelong member.

Stratford Lutheran Church.  Established 1859

Stratford Lutheran Church. Established 1859

A hundred years later, emails about 11/11/11 and 2012 missives warning me we are dangling on the brink of THE END flood my inbox.  I think of my grandmother, the farmer’s wife whose life experiences reflected her time and place, but whose words reveal her profound knowing.

“Regardless of what you may want, the world will change and you will have to adapt to those changes.”  Helga Swanson

Thank you for the wisdom Morta-Mor.

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