Wednesday, January 15, 2003

On early risers

(Unfortunately, not me these days.) From Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac:
Getting up too early is a vice habitual in horned owls, stars, geese, and freight trains. Some hunters acquire it from geese, and some coffee pots from hunters. It is strange that of all the multitude of creatures who must rise in the morning at some time, only these few should have discovered the most pleasant and least useful time for doing it....

Early risers feel at ease with each other, perhaps because, unlike those who sleep late, they are given to understatement of their own achievements....The coffee pot, from its first soft gurgle, underclaims the virtues of what simmers within...(pp. 59, 61).

Word of the day: anserine, "of, relating to, or resembling a goose." "The goose on the [sand] bar, rising briefly to a point of order in some inaudible anserine debate, lets fall no hint that he speaks with the authority of all the far hills and the sea" (Leopold, p. 61).

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