Friday, February 01, 2008


An Old Saying

Edwin Way Teale, Circle of the Seasons: The Journal of a Naturalist's Year (February 21):
I have been remembering a beautiful woodland I enjoyed for years, now wiped out forever. A few men, a forest; many men, a desert. That old saying never had greater point than it has today. It remains to be seen whether Man is ultimately known as the Lord of Creation or the Lord of Destruction.
The source of the old saying seems to be Charles Conrad Abbott, In Deep, Dark Forests, from his Clear Skies and Cloudy (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1899), p. 243:
Few men and a forest; many men and a desert.
Isaak Levitan (1860-1900), Footpath in a Forest, Ferns

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