When some remote ancestor of ours invented the shovel, he became a giver: He could plant a tree. And when the axe was invented, he became a taker: He could chop it down. Whoever owns land has thus assumed, whether he knows it or not, the divine functions of creating and destroying plants.
The most important characteristic of an organism is that capacity for internal self-renewal known as health. There are two organisms whose processes of self-renewal have been subjected to human interference and control. One of these is man himself (medicine and public health). The other is land (agriculture and coservation). The effort to control the health of land has not been very successful.
Wilderness is a continuous stretch of country preserved in its natural state, open to lawful hunting and fishing, big enough to absorb a two weeks' pack trip, and kept devoid of roads, artificial trails, cottages, or other works of man.
I am asserting that those who love the wilderness should not be wholly deprived of it, that while the reduction of the wilderness has been a good thing, its extermination would be a very bad one, and that the conservation of wilderness is the most urgent and difficult of all the tasks that confront us, because there are no economic laws to help and many to hinder its accomplishment.
Sometimes in June, when I see unearned dividends of dew hung on every lupine, I have doubts about the real poverty of the sands. On solvent farmlands lupines do not even grow, much less collect a daily rainbow of jewels.
Bread and beauty grow best together. Their harmonious integration can make farming not only a business but an art; the land not only a food-factory but an instrument for self-expression, on which each can play music to his own choosing.