On this SlideShare page, you will find several Power Point presentations, one for each of themost popular essays to read aloud from A Sand County Almanac at Aldo Leopold Weekendevents. Each presentation has the essay text right on the slides, paired with beautiful images thathelp add a visual element to public readings. Dave Winefske (Aldo Leopold Weekend eventplanner from Argyle, Wisconsin) gets credit for putting these together. Thanks Dave!A note on images within the presentations: we have only received permission to use theseimages within these presentations, as part of this event. You will see a photo credit slide as thelast image in every presentation. Please be sure to show that slide to your audience at least once,and if you dont mind leaving it up to show at the end of each essay, that is best. Also please notethat we do not have permission to use these images outside of Aldo Leopold Weekend readingevent presentations. For example, the images that come from the Aldo Leopold Foundationarchive are not “public domain,” yet we see unauthorized uses of them all the time on theinternet. So, hopefully that’s enough said on this topic—if you have any questions, just let usknow. email@example.comIf you download these presentations to use in your event, feel free to delete this intro slide beforeshowing to your audience.
One hundred and twenty acres,according to the County Clerk, isthe extent of my worldly domain.
But the County Clerk is a sleepy fellow, who never looks at his recordbook before nine oclock. What they would show at daybreak is thequestion here at issue.
Books or no books, it is a fact, patent both tomy dog and myself, that at daybreak I am thesole owner of all the acres I can walk over.
It is not only boundaries that disappear, but also the thought of beingbounded. Expanses unknown to deed or map are known to every dawn,
and solitude, supposed no longer to exist in my county,extends on every hand as far as the dew can reach.
Like other great landowners, I have tenants. They are negligent aboutrents, but very punctilious about tenures. Indeed at every daybreakfrom April to July they proclaim their boundaries to each other, and soacknowledge, at least by inference, their fiefdom to me.
This daily ceremony, contrary to what you might suppose, begins with theutmost decorum. Who originally laid down its protocols I do not know. At3:30 a.m., with such dignity as I can muster of a July morning,
I step from my cabin door, bearing in either hand my emblems ofsovereignty, a coffee pot and notebook. I seat myself on a bench, facingthe white wake of the morning star.
I set the pot beside me. I extract a cup frommy shirt front, hoping none will notice itsinformal mode of transport. I get out mywatch, pour coffee, and lay notebook on knee.
This is the cue for the proclamations to begin. At 3:35 the nearest fieldsparrow avows, in a clear tenor chant, that he holds the jack pine copsenorth to the riverbank, and south to the old wagon track.
One by one all the other field sparrows within earshot recite theirrespective holdings. There are no disputes, at least at this hour, soI just listen, hoping inwardly that their womenfolk acquiesce inthis happy accord over the status quo ante.
Before the field sparrows have quite gone the rounds, the robin inthe big elm warbles loudly his claim to the crotch where the icestorm tore off a limb,
and all appurtenancespertaining thereto(meaning, in his case, allthe angleworms in thenot-very-spacioussubjacent lawn). Therobins insistent carolingawakens the oriole,
who now tells the world of orioles that thependant branch of the elm belongs to him,together with all fiber-bearing milkweedstalks near by, all loose strings in the garden,and the exclusive right to flash like a burst offire from one of these to another.
My watch says 3:50. The indigo bunting on the hill asserts title to thedead oak limb left by the 1936 drought, and to divers near-by bugs &bushes.
He does not claim, but I think he implies,the right to out-blue all bluebirds,
and all spiderworts that have turned their faces to the dawn.
Next the wren, the one whodiscovered the knothole in theeave of the cabin, explodes intosong.
Half a dozen other wrens give voice, and now all is bedlam.
Grosbeaks, thrashers, yellow warblers, bluebirds, vireos, towhees,cardinals, all are at it.
My solemn list of performers,in their order and time of firstsong, hesitates, wavers,ceases, for my ear can nolonger filter out priorities.
Besides, the pot is empty and the sunis about to rise. I must inspect mydomain before my title runs out. Wesally forth, the dog and I, at random.
He has paid scant respect to all these vocal goings-on, for to him the evidence of tenantry is not song, butscent. Any illiterate bundle of feathers, he says, canmake a noise in a tree. Now he is going to translate forme the olfactory poems that who-knows-what silentcreatures have written in the summer night.
At the end of each poem sits the author-if we can find him. What we actually findis beyond predicting: a rabbit, suddenlyyearning to be elsewhere;
a woodcock, fluttering his disclaimer; a cockpheasant, indignant over wetting his feathers inthe grass.
Once in a while we turn up a coon ormink, returning late from the nightsforay.
Sometimes we rout a heron from hisunfinished fishing,
or surprise a mother wood duck withher convoy of ducklings, headed full-steam for the shelter of thepickerelweeds
Sometimes we see deer sauntering back to the thickets, replete withalfalfa blooms, veronica, and wild lettuce.
More often we see only the interweaving darkened lines thatlazy hoofs have traced on the silken fabric of the dew. I canfeel the sun now. The bird-chorus has run out of breath. Thefar clank of cowbells bespeaks a herd ambling to pasture.
A tractor roars warning that my neighbor is astir. The world has shrunk tothose mean dimensions known to county clerks. We turn toward home,and breakfast.
Photo Credits•Historic photographs: Aldo Leopold Foundation archives•A Sand County Almanac photographs by Michael Sewell•David Wisnefske, Sugar River Valley Pheasants Forever, Wisconsin Environmental Education Board, WisconsinEnvironmental Education Foundation, Argyle Land Ethic Academy (ALEA)•UW Stevens Point Freckmann Herbarium, R. Freckmann, V.Kline, E. Judziewicz, K. Kohout, D. Lee, K Sytma, R.Kowal, P. Drobot, D. Woodland, A. Meeks, R. Bierman•Curt Meine, (Aldo Leopold Biographer)•Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Education for Kids (EEK)•Hays Cummins, Miami of Ohio University•Leopold Education Project, Ed Pembleton•Bird Pictures by Bill Schmoker•Pheasants Forever, Roger Hill•Ruffed Grouse Society•US Fish and Wildlife Service and US Forest Service•Eric Engbretson•James Kurz•Owen Gromme Collection•John White & Douglas Cooper•National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)•Ohio State University Extension, Buckeye Yard and Garden Online•New Jersey University, John Muir Society, Artchive.com, and Labor Law Talk