The Succession of Forest Trees

The Succession of Forest Trees - THE SUCCESSION OF FOREST...

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THE SUCCESSION OF FOREST TREES 1 Evrmy man is entitled to come to Cattle-Show, even a . transcendentalist ; and for my part I am more inter- ested in the men than in the cattle . I wish to see once more those old familiar faces, whose names I do not know, which for me representthe l\1iddlesex country, and come as near being indigenous to the soil as a white man can ; the men who are not above their business, whose coats are not too black, whose shoes do not shine very much, who never wear gloves to conceal their hands . It is true, there are some queer specimens of humanity attracted to our festival, but all are welcome . I am pretty sure to meet once more that weak-minded and whimsical fel- low, generally weak-bodied too, who prefers a crooked stick for a cane ; perfectly useless, you would say, only bizarre, fit for a cabinet, like a petrified snake . A ram's horn would be as convenient, and is yet more curiously twisted . He brings that much indulged bit of the country with him, from some town's end or other, and intro- duces it to Concord groves, as if he had promised it so much sometime . So some, it seems to me, elect their rulers for their crookedness . But I think that a straight ,tide inakes the best cane, and an upright man the best ruler . Or " , liv choose a man to do plain work who is distinguished for his oddity', However, I do not know ' An Address read to the Middlesex Agricultural Society in Con- cord, September, 1360 . THE SUCCESSION OF FOREST TREES 185 but you will think that they have committed this mistake who invited me to speak to you to-day . In my capacity of surveyor, I have often talked with some of you, my employers, at your dinner-tables, after having gone round and round and behind your farming, and ascertained exactly what its limits were . Moreover, taking a surveyor's and a naturalist's liberty, I have been in the habit of going across your lots much oftener than is usual, as many of you, perhaps to your sorrow, are aware . Yet many of you, to my relief, have seemed not to be aware of it ; and, when I came across you in some out-of-the-way nook of your farms, have inquired, with an air of surprise, if I were not lost, since you had never seen me in that part of the town or county before ; when, if the truth were known, and it had not been for betraying my secret, I might with more propriety have inquired if you were not lost, since I had never seen you there before . I have several times shown the proprietor the shortest way out of his wood-lot . Therefore, it V would seem that I have some title to speak to you to-day ; and considering what that title is, and the occasion that has called us together, I need offer no apology if I invite your attention, for the few mo- ments that are allotted me, to a purely scientific subject . At those dinner-tables referred to, I have often been asked, as many of you have been, if I could tell how it happened, that when a pine wood was cut down an oak one commonly sprang up, and vice versa . To which I have answered, and now answer, that I can tell, - that it is no mystery to me . As I am not aware that
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