Woke up intent on doing an upbeat holiday column, and then the TV noise in the house mentioned that Monday, Dec. 7, was Pearl Harbor Day. That ruined my determination.

So, with at least Franklin D. Roosevelt’s March 1932 inaugural speech, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” encouraging in the background memory, here is more of that speech and also other quotes that popped up to set a different tone for this column.

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself‚ nameless terror, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and of vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. And I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.”

From my Dec. 16, 1992, column: “Edward Abbey, author, pointed out that ‘growth [of population] isn’t inevitable. It’s the result of deliberate policies.’

“William Serrin, a writer, reminded that ‘land restrictions are nothing new. The Puritans laid out compact communities with home and planting laws. A 1700 law required that Philadelphia citizens plant shade trees at their front doors. The federal ordinance of 1785 required that a section of each township be set aside for education. The Mormons held water and timber in common. ... California and Oregon have begun to protect their coastlines.’

“Serrin quoted Aldo Leopold, who long since recognized that we must develop property responsibility, not just property rights.

“Orville Schell, still another writer, summed it all up, perhaps: ‘The illusion that there will always be some new place ready to receive us to which we can “move on” is a terminal disease. Somewhere it must end.’

“Schell also said, ‘We will not be allowed forever to start over. We simply cannot continue to rely on ... the promise of unspoiled land ahead.’

“And, ‘Only the fast ones will make it. The rest of us will be left with the mess the others made while passing through.’

“Still more: ‘Worst of all, this faith in our ability to “move on” allows us to stand mutely by and watch as a seemingly inevitable process eats away at our present homes: asphalt, too many cars, crime, drugs, overpriced housing, high taxes, fear, depersonalization and, above all, people losing touch with those other human beings who live around us.’

“Yes. Well. Isn’t it, at long last, time?”

Field Notes: From Wilson, two American tree sparrows, 18 goldfinches, nine common redpolls and one white-tailed buck (Bernie McHugh and Frances Clark).

And on Thanksgiving Day some bites at my feeder: six black-capped chickadees, four mountain chickadees, 27 pine siskins, four female house finches, two collared doves, two magpies, one female and one male hairy woodpeckers, one male red-breasted nuthatch.

On Saturday, Richard Rice reported a goshawk. And a fellow noticed a pheasant strolling near Red Top Meadows in a recent week.

Bert Raynes©2015

Bert Raynes writes weekly on whatever suits his fancy with a dash of news on nature and its many ways. Contact him via columnists@jhnewsandguide.com.

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