Bernd Heinrich QuotesBernd Heinrich is a professor emeritus in the biology department at the University of Vermont and is the author of a number of books about nature writing and biology. Heinrich has made major contributions to the study of insect physiology and behavior, as well as bird behavior.
Edward Abbey said you must brew your own beer; kick in you Tee Vee; kill your own beef; build your cabin and piss off the front porch whenever you bloody well feel like it. I already had a good start. As a teenager in rural Maine, after we came to America, I had learned hunting, fishing, and trapping in the wilderness. My Maine mentors had long ago taught me to make home brew. I owned a rifle, and I’d already built a log cabin. The rest should be easy. I thought I’d give it a shot.
Spraying to kill trees and and raspberry bushes after a clear-cut merely looks unaesthetic for a short time, but tree plantations are deliberate ecodeath. Yet, tree planting is often pictorially advertised on television and in national magazines by focusing on cupped caring hands around a seedling. But forests do not need this godlike interference… Planting tree plantations is permanent deforestation… The extensive planting of just one exotic species removes thousands of native species.
We are social animals. We like to feel a part of something of beauty and power that transcends our insignificance. It can be a religion, a political party, a ball club. Why not also Nature? I feel a strong identity with the world of living things. I was born into it; we all were. But we may not feel the ties unless we gain intimacy by seeing, feeling, smelling, touching and studying the natural world. Trying to live in harmony with the dictates of nature is probably as inspirational as living in harmony with the Koran or the Bible. Perhaps it is also a timely undertaking.
I do not yet want to form a hypothesis to test, because as soon as you make a hypothesis, you become prejudiced. Your mind slides into a groove, and once it is in that groove, has difficulty noticing anything outside of it. During this time, my sense must be sharp; that is the main thing – to be sharp, yet open.