Photographs by Frank

6 October 2017

Good Oak

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frank @ 10:00 PM

There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the 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, he 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 the heat comes from, and with a wealth of detail denied to those who spend the week-end in town astride a radiator.


The words above are the first three paragraphs of the entry in Aldo Leopold’s Sand County Journal  titled “Good Oak”.  Among the many memorable passages in this classic work, this one is always foremost in my mind.

Recently, Joan and I had occasion to visit the Leopold Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin.

These folks are the caretakers of the Leopold family’s “shack” and of the Parthenon. While we were visiting, I was delighted to find that the site of the “good oak” whose demise under the saw Leopold goes on to describe in his essay had been marked for posterity.

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
The Leopold Shack
The Leopold Shack
The Parthenon
The Parthenon
The Good Oak
The Good Oak


1 Comment

  1. Funny, I have an entirely different look for the Parthenon. Mine image is larger with less wood.

    liking the shadows on the shack.

    Comment by Joe Kennedy — 7 October 2017 @ 9:17 AM

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