A great refuge

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lzarzalejo73

Senior Member
Spanish
I am reading A Sand County Almanac, by A. Leopold, and I do not understand what the author means in the following sentence, in regard to "a great refuge".
The passage is: "Nor did it heed the Legislature’s several protestations of love for trees: a National Forest and a forest-crop law in 1927, a great refuge on the Upper Mississippi bottomlands in 1924, and a new forest policy in 1921."
I understand the oak did not heed the Legislature's protestations... the 1927 law,... but I am lost after that. Did the oak, by any chance, seek refuge on the bottomlands?
Thanks in advance for your kind cooperation.
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I understand the oak did not heed the Legislature's protestations... the 1927 law,... but I am lost after that. Did the oak, by any chance, seek refuge on the bottomlands?
    I can't see any reference to "oak" in the passage you quoted, Izarzalejo, and I can't find any meaningful reference for what "it" represents at the beginning of that passage.

    Where do your questions about "the oak" come from? What oak are you referring to? As far as I know, no oak tree has ever sought refuge in the bottomlands or anywhere else, so your question makes no sense to me.:confused:
     
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    lzarzalejo73

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    It was just a presumption on my side. May I quote a little bit more in the text?: "Now our saw bites into the 1920’s, the Babbittian decade when everything grew bigger and better in heedlessness and arrogance—until 1929, when stock markets crumpled. If the oak heard them fall, its wood gives no sign. Nor did it heed the Legislature’s several protestations of love for trees: a National Forest and a forest-crop law in 1927, a great refuge on the Upper Mississippi bottomlands in 1924, and a new forest policy in 1921" What does "it" refer to? I wonder. Thank you very much for your kind attention.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    You're quite welcome, Izarzalejo. Thank you for the additional context. Your question makes much more sense to me now.

    This is an extended metaphor and the oak --which seems to be the author's choice for a symbol of something that lived during the time when stock markets crumpled and also a symbol of tree legislation passed in the twenties --does seem to be the noun that "it" refers to. Leopold tells us about a series of events that the oak, naturally enough, did not manage to record in the rings of its wood. That's a very creative way for him to introduce some basic information about the economy and some of the legislation from that time. This interesting turn of language also fits together well with whatever "our saw" is supposed to symbolize.

    You've already quoted plenty in here, but perhaps you can satisfy my own curiosity about three things: 1. Do you have any idea why the author used the saw for a symbol in the first sentence of this paragraph? 2. Does the whole chapter use tree metaphors or perhaps work-related metaphors like "saw"? 3. What is the chapter about? Is it basically historical information from some stretch of time in Sand County, the United States or perhaps the whole world?
     
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    lzarzalejo73

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    It seems you have not read the book, owlman5. I warmly recommend it to you.
    Now, I’m not formally qualified to assess to what extent such nouns as “oak” or “saw”, and a verb which the author constantly uses, the verb “to cut”, are or not metaphors. Once you read the book, as I hope you will, you will doubtlessly come to the conclusion that A. Leopold is maybe the greatest defender, protector, champion (probably the first great one in history, as a writer anyway) of conservationism and, notwithstanding other works, he was trying to convey and report the respect our society lacks vis-à-vis nature. A real complaint, I should say.
    So, if I am not wrong, the use of the noun saw and the verb to cut, regardless of the fact that he surely chopped down many a tree, both as a forester he was and also the need for firewood in his shack, fit perfectly as metaphors to back his message: the “ethics of the land” he talks about in later chapters.
    My respects.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Thank you for an interesting reply. You're right, of course: I haven't read that book. Being the lazy fellow I am, I prefer to ask other members to fill me in on any details I might need to give them some sort of halfway sensible answer.
     
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