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Bill Rutland lived from 1900-1953.

He had a profound love of forests and particularly of old trees -- not easy for an
American. So much of the land had been cut over by the time he was a
young man in 1920. It was deep in the sense of destiny of the American man to
clear forest.

He found, (above) at Point Reyes, on the coast north of San Francisco,
old cedars that came and went over millenia with the passage
of Pacific storms and which, so far, no one had much
exploited.

 

SEEING THE EYE OF THE WOLF:  some time in 1925 or so, Bill Rutland, an environmental reporter before the description 'environmental' was coined, met the US government forester, Aldo Leopold.

Part of Leopold's job in remote mountains in Arizona was to kill out wolves. He described to Rutland, or possibly Rutland was there -- how he and other men filled an old she wolf and all her cubs with lead rifle bullets. When they came on the she wolf, she was not finally dead and Leopold saw the 'fierce green fire in her eyes'. She was the last  wolf there, and she had known things which would now be gone from those mountains for ever.

This changed Leopold's life  and his description changed Rutland's. One more thread to an era before modern progress was snapped.

There would be safety for the white man's beef cattle and the wolf which had been there for tens of thousands of years would be gone.

Leopold (1887-1948) is now remembered for his crucial and perceptive writing on human relations to the land. His work is a series of tracts brought down from the mountain, the makings of a modern bible about the follies of progress. Rutland, the reporter, was profoundly affected by them. He was also more positive on aspects of progress than Leopold.

Aldo Leopold's  A Sand County Almanac was published after he died, in 1949 and has remained in print ever since. Rutland (1900-1953) was forgotten until now.

 

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