Today’s poem is a Golden Shovel. My strike line was taken from the writings of Alexander von Humboldt, considered by many to be the father of modern environmentalism. It is fitting that the Smithsonian has mounted a exhibition about Humboldt’s impact on art, nature, and culture in the United States during this fiftieth anniversary year of Earth Day.
If you want to learn more about this amazing man, I highly recommend The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World, by Andrea Wulf.
In addition to being an intrepid explorer, von Humboldt was a prolific writer, writing more than 36 volumes. His work influenced the thinking of Thoreau, Darwin, and John Muir, among others. It seems appropriate to remember and honor him this week.
The line I chose to work from is from a letter von Humboldt wrote in 1799:
I must find out about the harmony in nature.
This poem turned into something a little more personal than I expected, but we don’t always know where we’re headed when we start out.
Previous “News From the Natural World” poems:
April 20: Crowns of Moss
April 19: Propagation
April 18: At the Pond
April 17: The Red Chair
April 16: Dear Venus
April 15: Listen
April 14: Ode to a Tide Pool
April 11: What Does A Bird’s Egg Know?
April 10: Clusters of Clover
April 9: Song of the Pink Moon
April 8: Jewel of the Jungle
April 5: Phantom of the Forest
April 4: To Build a Nest
April 3: Apple Cake
April 2: Specimen
April 1: Forest Snail