December 21, 1999
I want to thank you again for visiting my forty acres near Burnt Woods. It was a pleasure to meet you in person.
I have been thinking of what your visit brought to my attempts to reforest and restore some measure of ecological health to my property. Certainly, I learned some specifics. I never fully realized the variety of ecological niches provided by one mature, healthy Doug Fir tree! You helped me to much better understand the connections between the physical characteristics of the land and the life upon it. It truly is a humbling experience to learn of the complexities inherent in the natural world, even on a parcel of land as small as my own.
Even more importantly to me, however, your comments gave me perspective on my goals and my work in reaching them. I think I now better understand the limits of my role in all of this. I have a tendency to micro-manage everything, responding to particular problems without seeing the whole picture. Whether it was animal damage, tree release, or failure of some plantings, there always seemed some immediate problem. "Save the trees! Save the trees!" It was management by crisis.
While you encouraged me to visualize my goals for this place, you also helped me realize that ultimately it is time and the natural world which will determine the outcome. You helped me realize that I am a part of a very long and continual process. I now feel less pressure to produce a specific result. This change in approach has not diluted my energies or commitment to what I have set out to do. But it surely allows me to enjoy it more. This is important, for I love this place. It is a big part of my life.
And my life is all I have.
Thank you again. I wish you much success in your important work.