William Cullen Bryant:  A Reminder From the 17th Century  Dennis Hayman
  Mar 13, 2002 07:18 PST 

If you read William Cullen Bryant and others of his time who loved the
forest, you can see that the question of why we should save the old
growth has been coming up for a very long time. His family property was
the love of his life and he did what he could to preserve it. Many of
the very trees that inspired this work are still standing today.

One of his most astounding achievements (recorded on film) was to
transplant 100 adult White Pines to his property. They were hauled by
huge wagons and horse teams and erected around his family home.
Amazingly, 99 of them lived.

I have often thought that we should place a copy of this poem at the
entrance to any old growth forest. Perhaps it would reawaken the ancient
bond with Earth and help to set the spiritual tone within individuals as
they enter this balanced world - a gentle reminder of what our world
could be again if we embrace it with love.

    Inscription For The Entrance To A Wood
                  By William Cullen Bryant

Stranger, if thou hast learned a truth which needs
No school of long experience, that the world
Is full of guilt and misery, and hast seen
Enough of all its sorrows, crimes, and cares,
To tire thee of it, enter this wild wood
And view the haunts of Nature. The calm shade
Shall bring a kindred calm, and the sweet breeze
That makes the green leaves dance, shall waft a balm
To thy sick heart. Thou wilt find nothing here
Of all that pained thee in the haunts of men,
And made thee loathe thy life. The primal curse
Fell, it is true, upon the unsinning earth,
But not in vengeance. God hath yoked to guilt
Her pale tormentor, misery. Hence, these shades
Are still the abodes of gladness; the thick roof
Of green and stirring branches is alive
And musical with birds, that sing and sport
In wantonness of spirit; while below
The squirrel, with raised paws and form erect,
Chirps merrily. Throngs of insects in the shade
Try their thin wings and dance in the warm beam
That waked them into life. Even the green trees
Partake the deep contentment; as they bend
To the soft winds, the sun from the blue sky
Looks in and sheds a blessing on the scene.
Scarce less the cleft-born wild-flower seems to enjoy
Existence, than the winged plunderer
That sucks its sweets. The mossy rocks themselves,
And the old and ponderous trunks of prostrate trees
That lead from knoll to knoll a causey rude
Or bridge the sunken brook, and their dark roots,
With all their earth upon them, twisting high,
Breathe fixed tranquility. The rivulet
Sends forth glad sounds, and tripping o'er its bed
Of pebbly sands, or leaping down the rocks,
Seems, with continuous laughter, to rejoice
In its own being. Softly tread the marge,
Lest from her midway perch thou scare the wren
That dips her bill in water. The cool wind,
That stirs the stream in play, shall come to thee,
Like one that loves thee nor will let thee pass
Ungreeted, and shall give its light embrace.

Perhaps it is the lure of Spring that tweaked me to send this today.
Greetings to all.


Re: big tree transplantation trivia question   Dennis E Hayman
  Jan 13, 2003 07:54 PST 
If you think back to the weekend we spent at William Cullen Bryant's
homestead on the 115th anniversary of his death, you may recall that they
had pictures of the 100 White Pines that he transplanted behind his house
(which are still there). They were very large and 99 of them out of 100
lived! That was an amazing feat. I was impressed with the pictures of how
they moved them via horse drawn wagons. I would have loved to be there.
This was a self taught man. His advantage was his closeness to the Earth,
as witnessed in his poetry. I wonder if there are records of this that
could be accessed. It might answer some of these questions brought up
Re: Poetry and our list   windbear@juno.com
  Dec 13, 2004 13:10 PST 
Got snow? After a fine walk in the snow covered Forest this morning, I was drawn to these words. The Forest in Winter has its own special magic.


"And all was white. The pure keen air abroad,
Albeit it breathed no scent of herb, nor heard
Love-call of bird nor merry hum of bee,
Was not the air of death. Bright mosses crept
Over the spotted trunks, and the close buds,
That lay along the boughs, instinct with life,
Patient, and waiting the soft breath of Spring,
Feared not the piercing spirit of the North.
The snow-bird twittered on the beechen bough,
And ‘neath the hemlock, whose thick branches bent
Beneath is bright cold burden, and kept dry
A circle, on the earth, of withered leaves,
The partridge found a shelter. Through the snow
The rabbit sprang away. The lighter track
Of fox, and the raccoon’s broad path, were there,
Crossing each other. From his hollow tree
The squirrel was abroad, gathering the nuts
Just fallen, that asked the winter cold and sway
Of winter blast, to shake them from their hold."

From “A Winter Piece”, by William Cullen Bryant