Wednesday Wisdom – Native American Proverb

native american proverb final

Original image by Steve Arena/USFWS

Wendell Berry, in his 1971 essay on wilderness, said “I am speaking of the life of a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children; who has undertaken to cherish it and do it no damage….”  John James Audubon said, “A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children.” Meanwhile, this quote is chiseled on the National Aquarium building in Washington, DC as a quote from wilderness crusader and environmental activist David Brower.  Beyond that, Jane Goodall has  referenced this contending “we are stealing from our children,” not borrowing as to pay them back.  Attribution of this quote seems less important than to acknowledge it as a universal conservation message.

This family of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) makes its way at dawn across the Lower Pool at Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, Concord, MA.  Thanks to FWS volunteer and photographer Steve Arena  for his photographic storytelling at Great Meadows.  Since today’s wisdom is about caring for our future by nurturing the present, Steve’s image reminds us “Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –over and over announcing your place in the family of things.”  (Mary Oliver, “Wild Geese”).  After all, it is still April and it is still  National Poetry Month!!



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