Listen or read along as Estella Leopold Jr. reads aloud from the beginning of “The Good Oak,” one of Aldo Leopold’s most well-known essays in A Sand County Almanac.
“The Good Oak.” There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from a grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace. To avoid the first danger, one should plant a garden, preferably where there is no grocer to confuse the issue. To avoid the second, you should lay a split of good oak on the andirons, preferably where there is no furnace, and let it warm his shins while a February blizzard tosses the trees outside. If one has cut, split, hauled, and piled his own good oak, and let his mind work the while, he will remember much about where that heat comes from, and with a wealth of detail denied those who spend the weekend in town astride a radiator.
The development of this self-guided tour was funded in part by:
The Community Foundation of South Central Wisconsin
Sauk County Extension Education, Arts & Culture Committee and the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin
Wisconsin Humanities, with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Wisconsin Humanities strengthens our democracy through educational and cultural programs that build connections and understanding among people of all backgrounds and beliefs throughout the state.