Course Hero. "A Sand County Almanac Study Guide." Course Hero. 29 Nov. 2017. Web. 23 May 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/A-Sand-County-Almanac/>.
Course Hero. (2017, November 29). A Sand County Almanac Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved May 23, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/A-Sand-County-Almanac/
(Course Hero, 2017)
Course Hero. "A Sand County Almanac Study Guide." November 29, 2017. Accessed May 23, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/A-Sand-County-Almanac/.
Course Hero, "A Sand County Almanac Study Guide," November 29, 2017, accessed May 23, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/A-Sand-County-Almanac/.
Humans create paintings that can last and be appreciated over generations. In nature there is another kind of painting, lesser known to humankind and mostly appreciated by wandering deer, a work created by a river. This painter is temperamental, and his paintings disappear as quickly as they appear. The paints are made up of silt, plants, and sand. Silt is deposited in a ribbon on the sand along the water's edge. Plants begin to grow, attracting wildlife. When the plants flower, new paint colors are added to the painting. The painting lasts just a short time, so observers can only "hang" it in their memories, not on a wall.
This lovely description of the fleeting beauty of a landscape "painted" by nature again contrasts the human perspective and nature's perspective. Human painters use colors that will last for generations on a canvas that can be hung and admired for years and years. But the river, an artist of another kind, paints a constantly changing image that only lasts a very short time and might never be seen by human eyes. Humans try to capture a moment and hold it in time, but the river (itself a thing always in motion) creates a painting that never sits still.
While not a refutation that human art is valuable and beautiful, this sketch is an invitation to humans to appreciate a different kind of beauty. The beauty of the river's painting is the transitory beauty of nature, which is in constant motion. It is the beauty of a moment that is not captured on canvas or in a photograph, but only by the physical senses.
Leopold liberally uses in his work the literary techniques of personification (portraying a nonhuman abstraction as acting and behaving like a human) and anthropomorphism (giving human characteristics to nonhuman entities to create imagery). Most often he uses these techniques to describe animals, but here he gives the river, in a sense a nonliving thing, the personality of a temperamental artist.